Wander Franco reportedly formally charged in Dominican Republic

    Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic have brought formal charges against Wander Franco, according to Juan Arturo Recio of ESPN. Franco is officially facing charges of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor, according to the report.

    Franco has been on administrative leave for the entire 2024 season. He has not played in the majors since social media allegations came to light last August. Franco allegedly had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. The age of consent in the Dominican Republic is 18.

    In January, prosecutors said that Franco paid the girl’s mother the equivalent of thousands of dollars to remain silent about the alleged abuse. According to a Spanish-language report from Listín Diario, the girl’s mother is facing charges of trafficking, sexual exploitation and money laundering.

    While prosecutors initially indicated they were considering charging Franco with commercial/sexual exploitation and money laundering, a judge lessened the potential charges against him to sexual and psychological abuse. Those charges come with a potential prison term of two to five years. The court gave prosecutors until July to determine whether to officially bring charges, which they have decided to do.

    MLB is likely to wait for the legal proceedings to play out before levying any discipline against Franco under the domestic violence/child abuse policy. Administrative leave, which is not considered punitive, is designed to allow the league to conduct an investigation after players are accused of a violation. MLB and the Players Association have already agreed to extend Franco’s leave until the All-Star Break. It is likely they’ll continue to do so until the legal process in the D.R. is resolved.

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