Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco arrested amid allegations of relationship with minor

Authorities have released little information about the case because it involves a minor.

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field on August 12, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was arrested Monday in the Dominican Republic after being interviewed by prosecutors investigating him for an alleged relationship with a minor, according to an official in the Puerto Plata province prosecutor's office.

Franco appeared before prosecutors while accompanied by two lawyers, days after not showing up for a meeting with prosecutor Olga Diná Llaverías, according to the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case. The official said the interview lasted nearly three hours.

Llaverías had originally requested Franco appear Dec. 28, two days after prosecutors and police visited two of Franco’s properties in Baní, the All-Star player’s hometown some 37 miles (60 kilometers) southwest of the capital, to request his appearance. They did not find the 22-year-old player there.

Authorities have released little information about the case because it involves a minor.

Franco must be brought before a judge within 24 hours, according to Dominican law. Franco's U.S. attorney, Jay Reisinger, declined comment. The AP was not able to reach Franco's attorneys in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic’s prosecutors’ office said on Aug. 14 that Franco was under investigation because of postings on his social media channels suggesting he had a relationship with a minor. The AP has not been able to verify the reported posts.

Franco was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball in August under its the joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy with the players’ association. He was paid and received service time while on administrative leave. There is no timetable for a conclusion of MLB’s investigation and whether the results of the probe might lead to discipline by MLB.

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