MLB player Wander Franco formally charged with sexual and commercial exploitation of a minor in the Dominican Republic

Nick Wass/AP

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been formally charged for sexual and commercial exploitation of a minor in the Dominican Republic, the country’s Public Ministry said in a statement Monday.

Franco – who has been on administrative leave from the major leagues since the allegations came to light August 2023 - was arrested in January in Puerto Plata, in the north of the Dominican Republic, on accusations of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering.

The baseball player addressed the allegations in August in an Instagram video. He appeared to deflect the accusations, saying he was focused on improving himself.

CNN has attempted to reach out to Franco’s attorney for comment.

Jay Reisinger, Franco’s United States-based lawyer, told The Associated Press that he could not comment because Franco had not received formal notification of any charges.

CNN’s Jill Martin has contributed to this report.

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