Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic are now investigating Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco for allegedly having engaged in another relationship with a minor in a second formal complaint. This is the most recent of the three accusations made against Franco.
Franco was already officially put on administrative leave by MLB as they investigated the matter as a whole. But a special prosecutor from the office of the Attorney General in the Dominican Republic has been investigating the accusations, legally, as of August 14.
Per Jeff Passan of MLB.com, who broke the news of the third allegation, “Prosecutors from the division, which investigates crimes committed against children, hope to speak with Franco in the coming weeks, sources told ESPN. In the D.R., the age of consent is 18. Anyone over 18 who engages in a sexual relationship with someone younger than 18 can be charged criminally.”
Franco last played on August 12, a day before social media posts went viral, alleging Franco was having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. MLB typically waits for a criminal investigation before bringing down its discipline with its joint policy with the MLB Players Association. This all but guarantees that Franco will continue to be paid from his 11-year, $182 million contract while MLB waits for a resolution to his legal issues.
The first complaint was reportedly filed on July 17, weeks before the social media post was made and the accusations were made public. And it’s important to note that players do not need to be criminally charged for MLB to enforce suspensions under its domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policies.
In the midst of all of this, Wander Franco himself went on IG live on Monday, August 15 to comment on the situation. “They say that I’m in public with a little girl, that I’m running around with a minor,” Franco said. “People don’t know what to do with their time. They don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s why I prefer to be on my side and not get involved with anybody.”