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Franco Officially Charged With Sexual Abuse, Exploitation

Shortstop Wander Franco talks about his new 11-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays

The Dominican Republic government has taken the next step in their case against Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, charging him with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor, according to ESPN’s Juan Arturo Recio.

According to Listin Diario, prosecutors officially filed charges against Franco Monday evening.  The mother of the minor child was also charged with trafficking, sexual exploitation and money laundering.  Recio Wednesday reported that prosecutirs have also filed an additional trafficking charge against Franco.

Franco was accused last August of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl in the Dominican Republic.  The 23-year-old was initially placed on the restricted list, then moved to the Administrative Leave list, where he has continued to be paid and receive service time despite not having played for the Rays since August 12, 2023.

The Rays have not commented on the matter since supporting the league’s decision to place Franco on administrative leave pending the outcome of both the criminal process as well as Major League Baseball’s own investigation.

Franco is currently in the third year of a 11-year contract signed before the start of the 2022 season worth $182 million.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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