Rays star goes on restricted list after human trafficking charges

He no longer will be paid or receive service time.

Franco, who previously had been on administrative leave until charges were filed, was formally charged by Dominican Republic prosecutors with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor and with human trafficking.

“Serious charges,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Wednesday. “Very concerning.’’

The Rays, after being notified of the charges Tuesday night, requested Wednesday that he be placed on the restricted list instead of the administrative list since he is prohibited from playing. Franco was being paid $2.454 million in the third year of a 11-year, $182 million contract.

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Franco is facing a prison sentence of two to five years for sexual abuse and five to 10 years for sexual exploitation while the human trafficking charges carry a sentence from 15 to 20 years. If Franco is found guilty of multiple charges, he would be sentenced on the crime with the longest prison term, according to Dominican laws.

Franco is being charged with having a relationship with a then 14-year-old girl that began in December 2022, when Franco was 21. Franco previously denied all allegations, which surfaced on social media posts on Aug. 13, 2023.

Prosecutors presented nearly a 600-page report to a judge in January. It included details of the alleged sexual relationship derived from interviews and messages between Franco and the girl.

The report also alleged that Franco paid the girl’s mother to continue the relationship. The mother was also charged with trafficking, sexual exploitation and money laundering.

MLB will continue its own investigation of Franco after his legal status in the Dominican is determined.

“We are aware of the charges against Mr. Franco,’’ MLB said in a release. “Our investigation remains open and we will continue to closely monitor the case as it moves forward.’’

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