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Wander Franco facing up to 20 years in prison over new charge

Wander Franco looking on

Aug 29, 2019; Charlotte, FL, USA; Charlotte Stone Crabs shortstop Wander Franco (1) looks on during the fourth inning at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wander Franco is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted of a new charge he is facing.

Franco was formally charged in the Dominican Republic this week with both sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor over his alleged relationship with a girl in his home country. Dominican Republic authorities have also added a human trafficking charge, which carries a prison sentence of 15-20 years.

The girl’s mother was also charged with trafficking, sexual exploitation and money laundering for allegedly accepting hush money from Franco in exchange for her approval of the relationship.

The formal charge of crimes against Franco have also triggered a change in his status with MLB. Franco last played in MLB on Aug. 12, 2023. After allegations about his relationship with a minor emerged, he was placed on paid administrative leave by MLB on Aug. 14, 2023.

Franco has been receiving pay and accumulating service time from MLB since then, but he has now been switched to the restricted list. That means he is no longer receiving pay or service time.

The Tampa Bay Rays had signed Franco to an 11-year, $182 million contract in November 2021. That contract is now in jeopardy for the 22-year-old due to the charges he faces.

Franco had made his first All-Star team last season and seemed on his way to having a promising career until his legal case emerged.

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