A Franklin County Ohio court has charged a man, who police say appears to be in the country illegally, with raping a 10-year-old girl. According to police testimony, the girl traveled to Indiana in June to get an abortion.
This appears to be the case that President Joe Biden highlighted in a recent speech while voicing his outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate a nationwide right to abortion.
Gerson Fuentes was arrested on Tuesday, according to court records, and arraigned on Wednesday in Franklin County, Ohio municipal court. Fuentes, 27, confessed to raping the girl at least twice, a police investigator testified in court.
Fuentes is being held on $2 million bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 22.
The victim in the case underwent an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, according to the officer’s testimony.
A statewide ban on abortions in Ohio after the sixth week of pregnancy went into effect just hours after the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion.
However, police received notification of the girl’s rape from Franklin County Children’s Services on June 22, two days before the Supreme Court announced its ruling in Dobbs v Jackson.
Also, as highlighted by Ohio AG David Yost, there is an exception built into the Ohio abortion law that would have allowed the girl to obtain an abortion in the state “if she exists and if this horrible thing actually happened to her.”
Abortions after six weeks remain legal in Indiana, though the Republican-controlled state legislature is expected to consider new restrictions later this month.
The victim’s story gained attention this month when the Indianapolis Star newspaper reported she had to travel to Indiana to secure an abortion because she was three days past Ohio‘s six-week limit.
A court-appointed defense attorney for Fuentes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In all, 26 states have either severely restricted abortions in the wake of the ruling or are expected to do so in the coming weeks and months.
Some conservatives had questioned the veracity of the Indianapolis Star story.
Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told the USA TODAY Network Ohio bureau on Tuesday that the details were “more likely than not a fabrication” because there had been no arrest and no evidence uncovered, Ohio‘s Columbus Dispatch reported.
But in a statement on Wednesday after the arrest, Yost, who defended the state’s six-week ban in state court after the Supreme Court decision, said, “My heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child. I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department in securing a confession and getting a rapist off the street.”
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters