In Case of Accused MLB Star, 'New Evidence Has Been Found'

But raids in Dominican Republic in search of Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco come up empty
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2023 7:17 AM CST
Authorities Come Up Empty in Raid on MLB Star's Home
Wander Franco warms up before a spring training baseball game with the Tampa Bay Rays against the New York Yankees on Feb. 28 in Kissimmee, Florida.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

The search for a Tampa Bay Rays shortstop continues. Authorities in the Dominican Republic searched in vain Tuesday for Wander Franco at his home there and his mother's following this summer's allegations that the 22-year-old had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with at least one minor, reports the Boston Herald. The raids were carried out in Villa Real and Bani, respectively, by the Santo Domingo Prosecutor's Office for Children and Adolescents, per local paper Listin Diario.

Neighbors tell the publication that contact information was left by authorities with Franco's wife, with whom he shares two children. Hector Gomez, a journalist with radio station Z101, noted on X on Tuesday that "new evidence has been found in the case." By the end of August, three women had come forward to say Franco had been in relationships with them when they were under 18, the age of consent in the Dominican Republic, and he was an adult. After the initial accusation came out, MLB placed Franco on administrative leave as it conducted its own internal investigation.

The Tampa Bay Times notes that Franco, who signed a record-breaking 11-year contract worth $182 million in 2021, has yet to speak publicly about the allegations, and that he missed more than 40 games of the regular season after the accusations emerged. Meanwhile, the AP reports that Franco is still set to receive a $700,000-plus bonus as part of the league's prearbitration bonus pool, created as an incentive for younger players. Franco has also continued to collect his regular paycheck, part of his $2 million salary for the season, while on leave. (More Wander Franco stories.)

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