MLB star Wander Franco 'is CHARGED with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor'

MLB star Wander Franco 'is CHARGED with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor'
By: dailymail Posted On: July 10, 2024 View: 47

Tampa Bay Rays superstar Wander Franco has been formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor, according to ESPN.

Franco is still being paid his $2million salary, despite not appearing in an MLB game since allegations first surfaced in the summer of 2023. He remains under contract through 2032 and is reportedly owed $174m.

He is alleged to have had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl and paid her mother thousands of dollars for her consent. 

The Prosecutor's Office in the Dominican Republic had until July 14 to file formal charges against Franco, and that process has now been completed, paving the way for the MLB star to face trial in his native country. 

Franco was initially suspended by the Rays before being placed on administrative leave through June 1 - per an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, according to ESPN. 

Wander Franco has been formally charged with sexual abuse against a minor
He allegedly had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl and paid her mother for her consent

Allegations of money laundering and sexual exploitation, meanwhile, were dismissed earlier this year, after Franco was released from jail. He was detained for a week after failing to respond to a summons by prosecutors. 

In April, a judge in the Dominican Republic denied a request by Franco to end his monthly check-ins with the authorities - and to return his bail of around $35,000.

According to prosecutors, and testimonies from the girl and other members of her family, Franco paid the 14-year-old girl's mother thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts, in exchange for the mother's consent to engage in a sexual relationship with her daughter. 

He was also accused by prosecutors of 'taking the minor away from her home in Puerto Plata in December 2022 and having a four-month relationship with her with consent from the girl's mother', as reported by the Associated Press.

Franco, 23, faces accusations of sexual and psychological abuse of a 14-year-old girl
Franco is married to Rachelly Paulino, his childhood sweetheart and they have two children
He was an All-Star in 2023 and the brightest prospect in baseball before his shocking arrest

The Code for the Protection of the Right of Children and Adolescents, Law 136-03 in the Dominican Republic, considers sexual abuse as any relationship between a minor and a person five years older. Franco started engaging in a relationship with the girl when she was 14 and he was 21. 

Franco was included in his first All-Star Team last season, and is regarded as one of the most exciting young players in Major League Baseball.

He is married to childhood sweetheart Rachelly Paulino, as first revealed by DailyMail.com last summer.

The pair have a five-bedroom home in Tampa - bought for $1.55m in May 2023 - and two children together, born in 2018 and 2022. 

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