SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Wander Franco is going through a lesser cost after a choose within the Dominican Republic analyzed proof that alleges the Tampa Bay Rays shortstop had a relationship with a 14-year-old lady and paid her mom hundreds of {dollars} for her consent.

Initially accused of economic and sexual exploitation and cash laundering — fees that carry as much as 30 years, 10 years and 20 years of jail respectively — Franco now stands accused as an alternative of sexual and psychological abuse, in response to a choose’s decision that The Related Press obtained on Tuesday.

Franco has not been formally accused, but when discovered responsible on the brand new cost, he might face between two to 5 years in jail.

Dominican legislation permits authorities to detain a suspect whereas prosecutors collect proof to assist their accusations, with a choose later figuring out whether or not there may be enough proof for fees to be formally filed and the case to maneuver ahead.

In his choice, Choose Romaldy Marcelino noticed that prosecutors gave the case in opposition to Franco a unique and extra severe therapy as a result of “the accused is an expert MLB participant,” he mentioned, referring to Main League Baseball. He didn’t elaborate.

The choose additionally decided that the cash Franco is accused of giving the teenager’s mom can’t be thought of cost for the lady’s alleged providers because the mom requested cash after discovering out about their relationship, which lasted 4 months, in response to proof collected by prosecutors.

The lady’s 35-year-old mom is also charged within the case and stays underneath home arrest. The unique fees of cash laundering nonetheless stand in opposition to her. The AP will not be naming the girl so as to protect her daughter’s privateness.

Franco was conditionally released Monday from a jail within the northern province of Puerto Plata after being detained for a week. He was ordered to pay 2 million Dominican pesos ($34,000) as a sort of deposit and is required to satisfy with authorities as soon as a month within the Dominican Republic because the investigation continues.

Franco was having an All-Star season earlier than being sidelined in August, when Dominican authorities started investigating claims he had been in a relationship with a minor. Main League Baseball launched its personal investigation, putting Franco on the restricted checklist on Aug. 14 earlier than transferring him to administrative leave on Aug. 22. Each investigations are ongoing.

Franco signed a $182 million, 11-year contract in 2021. His wage final 12 months and this 12 months is $2 million per season.


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