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MLB’s Wander Franco arrested in the Dominican Republic, accused of relationship with minor

Wander Franco, shortstop for the MLB's Tampa Bay Rays, has been arrested in the Dominican Republic after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/File)

(CNN) — Wander Franco, shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, was arrested on Monday in Puerto Plata, in the north of the Dominican Republic, after he presented himself before officials to answer accusations from the Public Ministry about allegations of having had a relationship with a minor.

Franco, who is a Dominican native, appeared before the Comprehensive Care Unit for Victims of Gender, Domestic Violence and Sexual Crimes on Monday to face the accusations, which came to light in August 2023.

The baseball player arrived at the prosecutor’s office around 11 a.m., accompanied by his new lawyers Teodocio Jáquez and Francisco Rodríguez, and was detained after being interrogated for almost three hours.

At the justice agency of Puerto Plata province, Franco was received by the head of the unit, Judge Luisa Marmolejos, who refused to give statements about the case when contacted by CNN. The legal representatives of Franco declined to speak about the case.

Franco has only addressed this case in August when, in an Instagram video, he appeared to deflect the accusations and said that he was focused on improving himself.

After the arrest, the Dominican Public Ministry has 48 hours to present evidence and petitions regarding Franco to the judge. Petitions can be coercive measures, like keeping him arrested. This means they have to decide if he stays in prison after 48 hours.

On December 28, Franco defied a summons to appear before the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents after having dismissed his former lawyers, hours before he was scheduled to appear.

Franco has been on administrative leave from the major leagues since the allegations came to light in the Dominican media on August 14, 2023.