SANTO DOMINGO- Wander Franco faces a lesser charge after a judge in the Dominican Republic analyzed the evidence alleging that the torpedo boat of the Tampa Bay Rays He had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl and paid her mother thousands of dollars for her consent.
Initially, the baseball player was accused of commercialization and sexual exploitation and money laundering, which carry sentences of 30, 10 and 20 years in prison. He now faces accusations of sexual and psychological assault, according to the judge’s ruling that was obtained by The Associated Press.
Franco has not been formally charged. But if found guilty of the new charge, the All-Star could face a sentence of between two and five years in prison.
In his decision, Judge Romaldy Marcelino indicated that the case that prosecutors presented against Franco seeks to give it a more serious dimension because “the accused is a professional” of the Big leagues. He did not go into details about it.
The judge determined that the money Franco is accused of giving to the teenager’s mother cannot be considered payment for the girl’s alleged services because the mother asked for money after finding out about their relationship, which lasted four months, according to evidence collected by prosecutors.
The mother, 35, has also been charged in the file and is under house arrest. He still faces charges of money laundering. The AP has not released the woman’s name in order to preserve the privacy of her daughter.
Franco, 22, was released on parole on Monday after being imprisoned for a week in the northern province of Puerto Plata. He had to pay 2 million Dominican pesos ($34,000) as financial security and will have to appear before authorities once a month while the investigation continues.
Franco was having a stellar season before he was sidelined from the team in August, when Dominican authorities began investigating allegations that he had been in a relationship with a minor.r. Major League Baseball began its own investigation and placed Franco on the restricted list on August 14 before placing him on administrative leave on August 22. Both investigations are ongoing.
Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million contract in 2021. His salary last year and this year is $2 million per season.