Judge denies request to lift injunction against Dominican baseball player

SANTO DOMINGO.- A dominican judge rejected the request for “outright release” made by Tampa Bay All-Star shortstop Wander Franco, who is on probation while being investigated for allegations that he had a brief relationship with a 14-year-old girl and having given his mother a small car and thousands of dollars in exchange for her consent.

According to a document to which The Associated Press had access, Franco's representatives asked the judge to eliminate the imposition that forces the player to visit the court every month while the investigation is underway, issued on January 5.

They also requested the return of the $33,000 that Franco deposited in court as a guarantee to obtain his conditional release.

Franco's request was answered by prosecutors, asking the court to reject it and ratify the measures already imposed.

“That the imposed coercive measures be ratified, since the presence of the accused Wander Franco Aybar must be guaranteed at each of the stages of the process,†responded the prosecutors.

Given this, Judge Pascual Francisco Abreu Valenzuela rejected “in all its parts” Franco's request, a decision that was appealed by him.

Franco's request was made on February 22 and answered on March 8.

According to Dominican law, coercive measures are reviewed every three months.

Situation in the Dominican Republic:

Franco is accused of charges that Dominican law classifies as association of criminals, psychological and sexual abuse against boys, girls and adolescents, and sexual commercialization of minors and money laundering to the detriment of a minor.

On March 28, the shortstop was placed on administrative leave until June 1 under an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players' association while the investigation continues.

The administrative leave is non-disciplinary under the sport's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, and a player continues to receive pay. Franco, who has a salary of 2 million this year, has remained in his native Dominican Republic while authorities investigate and did not report to spring training.