Rays shortstop Wander Franco formally charged with sexually abusing 14-year-old girl

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was formally charged Tuesday by prosecutors in the Dominican Republic with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

Four days after the incident, prosecutors decided to file charges. the original deadline has passed on July 5, six months after a judge ordered that Franco be investigated for sexual and psychological abuse of the minor.

Nairobi Viloria, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, confirmed to the Associated Press news agency that prosecutors have submitted the final and formal charges to the judge, but she would not provide further details.

The indictment also includes the minor’s mother. Prosecutors say Franco paid the girl’s mother thousands of dollars to consent to the relationship, which lasted four months. The girl’s mother remains under house arrest. The AP is not naming the woman to protect her daughter’s privacy.

Franco, 23, is on administrative leave from Major League Baseball and the players’ association until July 14.

Jay Reisinger, Franco’s U.S. attorney, said he could not comment because Franco had not received formal notice of any charges.

Tampa Bay’s All-Star shortstop has not played since Aug. 12 while MLB continues its investigation into a alleged relationship with a minor.

Administrative leave is not disciplinary under the sport’s joint policy on domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse, and a player continues to receive pay. Franco, who is on a $2 million salary this year, has remained in his native Dominican Republic while authorities there investigate.

Franco agreed to a $182 million, 11-year contract november 2021.

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