Wander Franco probe being handled by special division in DR, prosecutor says

The prosecutor said he hasn't had any contact with MLB executives or U.S. authorities about the case


SEATTLE, WA – JULY 11: Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during batting practice prior to the 93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

A prosecutor in the Dominican Republic says the investigation into Tampa Bay Rays All-Star shortstop Wander Franco's alleged relationship with a minor is being handled by a division specializing in minors and gender violence in the province of Peravia.

Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in Peravia, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the investigation into Franco is open under The National Agency for Boys, Girls, Adolescents and Family and Gender Violence Unit. He said the probe is in its early stages and will be chaired by Judge Olga Diná Llaverías, a specialist on child abuse cases.

“This is a very delicate topic because there is a minor involved,” Fabal said. “We are working together (with Judge Llaverías).”

Fabal said prosecutors are gathering evidence and testimonies but did not provide details.

“Next week, we might be able to give some of the necessary information without hurting the investigation,” he said.

The prosecutor added he has had no contact with Major League Baseball executives or U.S. authorities about the case.

Franco was born in Baní, the capital of the Peravia province.

It is not clear if Franco has retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

On Monday, the Rays placed the 22-year-old on the restricted list, a move that will sideline Franco for at least six games while MLB investigates social media posts involving the player.

The investigations follow reported social media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. The AP has not been able to verify the reported posts.

MLB has launched an investigation, a person familiar with the probe told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

Franco did not play in Sunday’s home series finale against Cleveland at Tropicana Field and did not accompany the Rays to San Francisco for the start of a six-game road trip that began Monday night against the Giants.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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