Sources: Rays’ Wander Franco arrested for shirking investigators


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 while accompanied by two lawyers, days after not showing up for 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 Franco appear Dec. 28, two days after prosecutors and police visited two of Franco’s properties in Baní, the All-Star player’s hometown some 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 Monday was the result of not showing up for Thursday’s requested meeting, 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 relation to the allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors.

At least two people have filed legal action against Franco, who also is under investigation for allegedly having a relationship with a third minor, sources told ESPN, although there has been no formal complaint to authorities from the third girl.

He was placed on paid administrative leave in August 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 help 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 on an 11-year, $182 million contract extension.

Information from ESPN’s Juan Arturo Recio and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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