Mixed responses are given to the Wander Franco charges in Tampa, Dominican Republic.

Some fans think the Rays shortstop is guilty of extortion against a wealthy player, while others think it’s a case of that.

Rays shortstop Wander Franco is the subject of investigations in the Dominican Republic and by Major League Baseball after allegations of a relationship with a minor. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Rays shortstop Wander Franco is the subject of investigations in the Dominican Republic and by Major League Baseball after allegations of a relationship with a minor. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
The investigation into Tampa Bay Rays All-Star shortstop Wander Franco about an alleged contact with a juvenile is in its basic stages, according to Dominican lawyer Juan Arturo Recio, and it may take months.

Recio, who also serves as the general editor for ESPN Deportes in the Dominican Republic, suggested seeking a lawyer on Wednesday if Franco doesn’t already have one.

 

Recio added, “It’s vital to realize that under our laws, there are no consenting relationships between a juvenile and an adult. There aren’t any mitigating circumstances.

Dominican lawyer Juan Arturo Recio stated that the inquiry into Tampa Bay was ongoing, but that no further information could be released while the case is still being investigated, information gathered, and other details are being confirmed.

The Attorney General’s Office stated, “For now, we beg for your understanding because any information that is published could hinder the process.

Under Dominican Republic law 136-03, which specifies the Code for the Protection of Fundamental Rights of Children and Adolescents, relationships between adults and adolescents under the age of 18 are forbidden. This code establishes penalties and prison sentences of two to five years. Such relationships are categorized as sexual abuse by Dominican authorities. Even if the minor offers assent, this still holds true.

According to El Nuevo Diario, a party from Major League Baseball visited the Dominican Republic’s southern coast on Monday as part of the league’s inquiry. Peravia is also home to the National Agency for Boys, Girls, Adolescents and Family and Gender Violence Unit’s office, which is in charge of the Franco investigation and is presided over by Dominican judge Olga Diná Llaveras, an expert in child abuse cases.

Recio claims that in a nation where baseball is the most popular sport, this is the first incidence of problems regarding minors involving a Dominican baseball player that has come to public attention. The sport of baseball, called as “pelota” in the Caribbean country, is frequently seen as an opportunity to escape poverty and pursue better prospects.

Some Dominicans think Franco is guilty, while others say the accusations against him are the result of extortion against a powerful player.

Enrique Rojas, a Dominican correspondent for ESPN Deportes who resides in Central Florida, asserted that baseball is a traditional and family-friendly sport.

While some people might be unaffected by a damaged reputation, in baseball, that’s not the case. A baseball player being involved in such a relationship is unusual, according to Rojas. And even in this liberal nation, there is a stringent prohibition against crimes involving sexual contact with children.

The Rays have steadily and quickly diversified their roster with Latino players since they first competed in Major League Baseball in 1998. This custom has coincided with the signing of multimillion-dollar contracts, including Franco’s, the largest contract in Rays history, which is worth up to $223 million over 12 years and $182 million over 11 years. Because of this, Dominican supporters in Tampa Bay perceived the news as a slap in the face.

The charges are so serious that they may have an effect on one of our finest players’ future, according to 38-year-old Riverview-based Dominican parent and ardent Rays supporter Miguel Mieses. Because he is involved in such a delicate matter, “I would no longer like to support him as a player.”

Francisco Martinez, a 54-year-old Dominican from Tampa who also feels Franco is not innocent, claimed some girls may go to great lengths for money and fame.

51-year-old Seffner resident Wendy Dominguez referred to Franco’s involvement in the dispute as terrible.

He ought to be aware that crossing that border is improper.

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