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Rays shortstop Wander Franco formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation: report

Wander Franco. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Wander Franco. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop has been formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor in the Dominican Republic,

The 23-year-old last played a major league game on August 12, 2023 and has since been away from the team on administrative leave after allegations surfaced.

Allegations of Franco’s relationship with a 14-year-old girl surfaced last year. Franco provided the girl’s mother with cash payments and a car in exchange for her consenting to the relationship, according to prosecutors.

Major League Baseball is also investigating the matter. The league extended Franco’s administrative leave through July 14 as authorities continued their own investigations. Being on administrative leave allows Franco to continue to get paid. He is in the third year of an 11-year, $182 million contract.

Franco, previously seen as a budding star on the Rays, made the All-Star team in 2023. He was removed from the Rays’ 40-man roster before Opening Day this season.

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