January 3: Prosecutors accused Franco of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering on Wednesday, according to a report from the Associated Press. The money laundering charges stem from law enforcement’s assertion that Franco paid the mother of one of the minors. As previously reported, the mother has also been detained. Prosecutors are requesting that a judge order Franco and the woman each remain confined under house arrest and prevented from leaving the country.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday morning, at which point a judge will decide whether Franco is to be released on bond pending further investigation and trial.
January 1: Authorities in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic have arrested Wander Franco, according to multiple reports out of the D.R. (Spanish-language link via Listín Diario and ESPN Dominican Republic). He is expected to go in front of a judge for arraignment proceedings within the next 48 hours.
Officials have investigated two formal allegations that Franco has had inappropriate relationships with minors. (A third minor has made similar claims but did not file an official complaint.) According to Listín Diario, the mother of one of the alleged victims was also detained this afternoon.
Franco’s arrest was for failure to report for a summons last week, not a reflection of any new information in the investigations themselves, according to a report from ESPN.
The allegations against Franco went viral on social media on August 13. The Rays placed him on the restricted list the following day. A week later, he was transferred to administrative leave — common practice for players under investigation for possible violations of the MLB/MLBPA Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. Franco was reinstated onto the Rays’ 40-man roster at the beginning of the offseason in a procedural transaction.
While MLB quickly opened its own investigation into the social media allegations, the league is awaiting resolution of the legal process in the Dominican Republic before acting. Authorities summoned Franco for questioning last Wednesday. The 22-year-old did not report at the time. His previous attorneys later informed prosecutors that Franco had dismissed them. He did appear for questioning alongside his new legal representation this morning. Following that meeting with investigators, he was detained.