Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was arrested Monday in his native Dominican Republic after being interviewed by prosecutors investigating him for alleged inappropriate relationships with minors, sources confirmed to ESPN.
Franco appeared before prosecutors accompanied by two lawyers, days after failing to appear at a meeting with prosecutor Olga Diná Llaverías, a source confirmed to ESPN. Monday’s interview lasted nearly three hours, according to The Associated Press.
Llaverías had originally requested that Franco appear on December 28, two days after prosecutors and police visited two of Franco’s properties in Baní, the All-Star player’s hometown about 37 miles southwest of the capital of Santo Domingo, to request his appearance. They did not find the 22-year-old player there.
Franco’s arrest on Monday was the result of failing to show up for a requested meeting on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPN. Franco must be brought before a judge within 48 hours, according to Dominican law. No criminal charges have been filed against Franco in connection with allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors.
At least two people have filed legal action against Franco, who is also under investigation for allegedly having a relationship with a third minor, sources told ESPN, although there has been no formal complaint to authorities by the third girl.
In August, he was placed on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball, which is also investigating the allegations.
When Franco was placed on leave, the Rays said they supported the league’s decision and would assist the investigation in any way possible. Since then, the Rays have not commented on the situation.
In November 2021, 70 games into his MLB career, Franco and the Rays agreed to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension.
Information from Juan Arturo Recio of ESPN and The Associated Press was used in this report.