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An Ohio man has been charged with raping and impregnating a 10-year-old girl who had to travel to Indiana seek an abortion after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court last month.
Gershon Fuentes, 27, was arrested in Columbus on Tuesday after allegedly confessing to twice sexually assaulting the young girl, who later required an out-of-state abortion following the suspected attack. He has been charged with felony rape.
Columbus police were tipped off to the girl’s pregnancy by Franklin County Child Services, according to Det. Jeffrey Huhn, who testified at Fuentes’ arraignment on Wednesday, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The 10-year-old received a medical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, Huhn stated.
Investigators are now awaiting DNA test results of the aborted fetus from the Indianapolis clinic, which will be tested comparatively with samples from Fuentes to verify his alleged confession.
The 10-year-old’s disturbing saga made national headlines after Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the girl’s obstetrician-gynecologist, told the Indianapolis Star she’d terminated the girl’s pregnancy.
Bernard said she was referred to the 10-year-old patient by a child abuse doctor in Ohio after the state banned abortion following six weeks of pregnancy, following the Supreme Court’s controversial abortion ruling. The physician’s account subsequently went viral.
"My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse," Bernard tweeted on Wednesday. "I am so sad that our country is failing them when they need us most. Doctors must be able to give people the medical care they need, when and where they need it."
The 10-year-old’s plight later triggered nationwide condemnation on both sides of the abortion divide, further fanning the flames of the country’s latest culture war.
"Imagine being that little girl," President Joe Biden said in a speech Friday blasting the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. "I’m serious. Just imagine being that little girl."
Prior to Fuentes’ arrest, some Republican officials, including Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, initially voiced suspicion toward the Indiana doctor’s claims.
"Every day that goes by the more likely that this is a fabrication," Yost told USA Today. "I know the cops and prosecutors in this state. There's not one of them that wouldn't be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. I'm not saying it could not have happened. What I'm saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence. And shame on the Indianapolis paper that ran this thing on a single source who has an obvious ax to grind."
Yost, however, quickly changed his tune, after news of Fuentes’ arrest broke.
“We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets," Yost said in a separate short statement.
On June 24, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of overruling Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling, essentially prohibiting abortion in eight states that already had laws on the books banning the procedure. Thirteen states with “trigger bans,” including Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and others, will outlaw abortion 30 days after the ruling.
Fuentes is being held at a Franklin County detention facility, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. The Ohio man, who was deemed a possible flight risk, is being held on a $2 million bond, according to the Columbus Dispatch. His next court date has been set for July 22.
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