State Watch

Man charged in rape of 10-year-old girl who was denied abortion: report

A 27-year-old man has been arrested and charged with raping and impregnating a 10-year-old girl who received national attention for not being able to obtain an abortion in Ohio following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to a report by the Columbus Dispatch

Gershon Fuentes of Columbus, Ohio, has been charged with rape after he was arrested on Tuesday, the Dispatch reported. Police told the Dispatch he confessed to raping the girl at least twice. 

The girl needed to travel to Indiana to receive the abortion at the end of last month, the Indianapolis Star, a sister paper of the Dispatch, reported earlier this month.

A mugshot shared by Columbus police included information confirming that Fuentes was charged with rape, but a public records supervisor with the police said on Thursday that they would be denying a request for access to the rape report.

“The report was initiated by a mandated reporter and is not a public record,” the public records supervisor said in an email, adding later, “no other records will be released from this investigation until after the case is adjudicated.”

Ohio law bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which usually occurs about six weeks into pregnancy. 

Indiana may pass increased abortion restrictions at a special legislative session scheduled for this month. 

That story went viral around the world, and eventually got the attention of President Biden.

He referenced the girl’s situation on Friday during remarks he gave alongside signing an executive order to try to protect abortion rights in response to Roe’s overturn. 

“Raped, six weeks pregnant. Already traumatized. Was forced to travel to another state. Imagine being that little girl,” he said.

The Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is sending decisions on abortion rights to the states, and could set up large “deserts” in which people seeking the service have to travel hundreds of miles.

The Star’s story about the Ohio 10-year-old had also sparked some questions, with some questioning its validity in the days after the Star reported on the girl’s situation.

Ohio State Attorney General Dave Yost (R) told Fox News’s Jesse Watters on Monday that he is in regular contact with local authorities throughout the state but had not heard “a whisper” of a report being filed related to a 10-year-old being raped. 

He defended his comments in an interview with the USA Today Network Ohio bureau on Tuesday, saying that each day passing makes the story more likely a “fabrication.” 

After the arrest was made, Yost posted a statement on Twitter, saying his heart “aches” for the child’s suffering and he is grateful to Columbus police for securing a confession and taking a rapist off the streets. 

The story was also questioned in news outlets like Fox News and the New York Post

According to the Dispatch, a detective testified at Fuentes’s arraignment on Wednesday that Columbus police were notified of the case by Franklin County Children Services after the girl’s mother contacted the organization.

The detective testified that DNA from the clinic the girl went to in Indianapolis is being tested against samples from Fuentes to confirm his paternity, according to the Dispatch. 

A judge set bail for Fuentes at $2 million, setting a high bond due to him possibly being a flight risk and to protect the child. 

Updated July 14 at 7:16 p.m.

Tags abortion rights abortion rights Biden Dave Yost indiana Indiana Ohio Ohio abortion ban Rape Supreme Court

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