Wander Franco ‘Formally Charged’ In Criminal Case

Today, we have a serious and troubling story from the world of Major League Baseball involving Tampa Bay Rays superstar Wander Franco. According to ESPN, Franco has been formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor in his native Dominican Republic.

Franco, a standout player who was named to his first All-Star Team last season, has not played in an MLB game since these allegations surfaced in the summer of 2023. Despite this, he is still receiving his $2 million salary and remains under contract through 2032, with a reported total of $174 million owed to him.

The charges against Franco are severe. He is accused of having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl and paying her mother thousands of dollars in exchange for her consent. The Prosecutor’s Office in the Dominican Republic had until July 14 to file formal charges, which they have now done, setting the stage for Franco to face trial.

Initially, Franco was suspended by the Rays and then placed on administrative leave as part of an agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA). Earlier allegations of money laundering and sexual exploitation were dismissed, but Franco was detained for a week after failing to respond to a prosecutor’s summons.

In April, a judge denied Franco’s request to end his monthly check-ins with authorities and to return his bail of approximately $35,000.

Prosecutors have provided testimonies from the girl and her family, alleging that Franco paid the girl’s mother thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts to engage in a sexual relationship with her daughter.

The accusations further claim that Franco took the minor away from her home in Puerto Plata in December 2022 and maintained a four-month relationship with her, with the mother’s consent.

Under the Dominican Republic’s Code for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents (Law 136-03), any sexual relationship between a minor and a person five years older is considered sexual abuse. Franco, who began this relationship at 21 while the girl was 14, falls under this definition.

This situation is not just a legal issue but also a profound personal scandal for Franco, who is married to his childhood sweetheart, Rachelly Paulino. The couple, who have a home in Tampa bought for $1.55 million in May 2023, have two children together, born in 2018 and 2022.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here