Wander Franco Released From Jail Amid Ongoing Investigation Into Rays Player’s Alleged Relationship With 14-Year-Old

The 2023 MLB All-Star is accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering.

Image via Getty/Douglas P. DeFelice

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was released from jail in the Dominican Republic on Monday, days after a judge granted his conditional release.

According to ESPN, Franco was ordered to pay a deposit of 2 million Dominican pesos, or $34,000. He can also leave the Dominican Republic, but must return every month to appear before authorities as the investigation into his alleged relationship with a 14-year-old girl continues.

Franco is accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering, as reported by ESPN. The 22-year-old allegedly had a four-month relationship with the minor with the consent of her 35-year-old mother, who allegedly received $1,700 monthly payments over the course of seven months and a new car "in order to allow the relationship and let her go out with him wherever she wanted."

The girl also allegedly traveled outside her Puerto Plata home in December 2022 to be with Franco.

The minor is quoted in court documents claiming she grew "tired" of her mother allegedly pocketing all the money she received from Franco and wanted a local digital media site to publish a story about her relationship with the Rays star. Franco responded in a video a few days later, calling the situation an extortion attempt.

Authorities seized $13,700 worth of Dominican pesos during a raid of the mother's home in September, in addition to $68,500 allegedly found behind a frame. Another 2.1 million Dominican pesos, or $36,000, in the form of a guarantee certificate from a local bank was found in a different home. Investigators claim the certificate came from Franco for the "commercial and sexual exploitation" of the minor.

The Rays placed Franco on the restricted list in August while Major League Baseball conducts its own investigation. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported at the time that the team would continue to pay his salary, even though they are not required to do so as part of his designation.

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