Ohio Man Charged With Raping 10-Year-Old Girl Who Had to Cross State Lines to Obtain Abortion

Gerson Fuentes
Gerson Fuentes.Fulton County Jail

Gerson Fuentes was arrested Tuesday and has been charged with rape. He is being held on $2 million bail, authorities said.

An Ohio man has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl who had to travel to Indiana for an abortion after the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Her case drew international attention in the aftermath of the high court's ruling — with some Republicans suggesting the account was fabricated and President Joe Biden publicly expressing sympathy for the child.

Gerson Fuentes, 27, of Columbus, was arrested Tuesday after police said he acknowledged raping the child at least twice. He was charged Wednesday with rape and is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Columbus police said they were notified of the child's pregnancy through a referral from Franklin County Children Services. The agency had been contacted by the girl's mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for Fuentes.

The detective also testified that DNA testing is being conducted on samples from Fuentes and tissue from the child's aborted fetus.

The Indianapolis Star first reported this month that a 10-year-old rape victim had traveled from Ohio to Indiana for abortion services after the medical procedure was severely restricted in her home state.

The story immediately went viral. The child's plight became a rallying cry for supporters of abortion rights.

"Imagine being that little girl," President Joe Biden said Friday as he criticized the Supreme Court's decision to remove abortion as a constitutionally protected right. "I’m serious. Just imagine being that little girl," the president said.

But in recent days, Republicans cast doubt on the case.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told Fox News this week that his office hadn't heard "a whisper" about a child being raped and impregnated. "We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere," Yost said.

"I know the cops and prosecutors in this state," he added. "There's not one of them that wouldn't be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn't leave him loose on the streets. I'm not saying it could not have happened. What I'm saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence."

After Wednesday's court hearing, Yost issued a one-sentence statement. "We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets," he said.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted earlier this week, in response to Yost questioning the account, "Another lie. Anyone surprised?" That tweet appeared to have been removed following news of the suspect's arrest. 

On Wednesday, the congressman tweeted that the accused  "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." 

Clark Torbett, an attorney with the Franklin County Public Defender’s office, said in court that Fuentes had lived in Columbus for the past seven years and had a steady job at a restaurant. He argued against the prosecution's request for no bail.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer said there were questions about Fuentes' true name and said it was believed the suspect was not a legal U.S. resident.

Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner set bail at $2 million, saying Fuentes could pose a flight risk and that a high bond was necessary to protect the child.

The prosecutor also said the girl had recently turned 10, and was likely impregnated at age 9. She was six weeks pregnant at the time of her abortion, authorities said.

If convicted, Fuentes could face life imprisonment.

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