Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco found himself entangled in legal proceedings in the Dominican Republic, where he was arrested on Monday.
The arrest follows an interrogation by prosecutors investigating allegations of Franco’s involvement in an illicit relationship with a minor, as disclosed by an official from the Puerto Plata province prosecutor’s office.
Franco, accompanied by two legal representatives, presented himself before the prosecutors after failing to attend a previously scheduled meeting with prosecutor Olga Diná Llaverías.
The interview, which spanned nearly three hours, was a pivotal moment in the ongoing investigation.
Prosecutor Llaverías had initially summoned Franco to appear on December 28, following a visit by prosecutors and police to two of Franco’s properties in Baní, located approximately 37 miles southwest of the capital.
However, the 22-year-old player was not found at either location during the visit.
Wander Franco Legal Probe and MLB Leave
In accordance with Dominican law, Franco is required to appear before a judge within 24 hours.
Franco’s US attorney, Jay Reisinger, refrained from making any comments on the matter, and attempts by the Associated Press to reach Franco’s legal representatives in the Dominican Republic were unsuccessful.
The Dominican Republic’s prosecutors’ office initiated the investigation on August 14, prompted by content on Franco’s social media platforms hinting at a relationship with a minor.
However, the authenticity of these reported posts remains unverified by the Associated Press.
In response to the investigation, Major League Baseball (MLB) placed Franco on administrative leave in August, invoking its joint policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in collaboration with the players’ association.
Despite being on leave, Franco received compensation and service time. The timeline for MLB’s inquiry remains uncertain, and potential disciplinary actions hinge on the findings of the investigation.
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