According to various sources, Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was detained in the Dominican Republic after missing a meeting with prosecutors over an alleged improper contact with a juvenile.
Franco was called by Dominican authorities last week to appear with the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Children and Adolescents in Santo Domingo on Thursday. Authorities searched his hometown homes in Baní when he failed to attend the meeting, as reported by the Associated Press.
Franco landed in Santo Domingo with his attorneys on Monday, according to Diario Libre and other outlets. Monday's report by Héctor Gómez said Franco was arrested after meeting with prosecutors.
ESPN claims that Franco was detained for failing to appear last week, not for his alleged improper relationship.
Diario Libre and Listin Diario verified Franco's arrest. The mother of the youngster who complained was also held, sources said. Franco was first accused with something unclear. Gómez says that Franco will be arraigned Wednesday and that prosecutors will request that he stay in jail without bail.
Franco was accused of dating an underage girl on social internet in August. After an MLB inquiry, the Rays limited Franco on Aug. 14. MLB placed him on administrative leave Aug. 23. Aug. 12 was his last 2023 game.
Franco was accused of an improper relationship on July 17, before the charges were public on social media. ESPN reported Aug. 30 that a second minor girl accused Franco of an improper contact and that police were investigating a third. In the Dominican Republic, consent is 18.
Franco, 22, was in his third MLB season when the charges arose. He cut and made his first All-Star squad in 2023.His season finished in August with 281/.344/.475, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 112 games. The Texas Rangers won the 2023 World Series after defeating the Rays in the first round. Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million Rays deal in 2021.