Wander Franco's case reportedly being handled by minors and gender violence unit in Dominican Republic

Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco watches from the dugout during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Wander Franco is away from the Rays as the allegations against him are investigated in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The allegations against Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco will be handled in the Dominican Republic by a division specializing in cases involving minors and gender violence, according to the Associated Press.

Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in the Dominican province of Peravia, reportedly said the investigation is open under The National Agency for Boys, Girls, Adolescents and Family and Gender Violence Unit and is in its early stages. Judge Olga Diná Llaverías, a specialist on child abuse cases, will chair the case.

From the AP:

“This is a very delicate topic because there is a minor involved,” Fabal said. “We are working together (with Judge Llaverías).”

Fabal reportedly also said prosecutors are in the process of gathering evidence and testimonies, with a potential update coming next week, and they have had no communication with MLB or U.S. authorities.

The Rays placed Franco on the restricted list Monday, temporarily removing him from the active roster, after allegations that he was in a relationship with a minor went viral on social media. An MLB official told Yahoo Sports that the league is investigating the matter, while the Rays and manager Kevin Cash acknowledged the accusations but declined further comment.

Before the allegations became known, Franco was in the middle of an All-Star season for the 73-50 Rays, hitting .281/.344/.475 with 17 homers and 30 steals. He signed an 11-year, $182 million deal in 2021.