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A trial date has been set for the 27-year-old Ohio man charged with raping and impregnating a 9-year-old girl.
The case made national headlines because it came on the heels of the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion across the U.S.
The girl, who turned 10 in May, was forced to go to Indiana for an abortion because doctors reportedly told her mother they did not think it would be legal in Ohio.
The procedure is permitted in the state if the mother’s health is at risk. However, state law does not make exemptions for rape or incest, and it’s unclear if a minor has any exemptions.
Gerson Fuentes, a Guatemalan national, appeared in court on Tuesday. His trial date is set for Oct. 13. Fuentes is charged with two counts of rape of a child under the age of 13, and previously pleaded not guilty.
Fuentes had a relationship with the girl’s family and has lived in the area for seven years, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Police said he admitted to sexually assaulting the girl twice between January and May 12, the newspaper reported, citing court documents.
After the girl became pregnant, police reported it to the Franklin County Children Services on June 22. Her pregnancy was terminated more than a week later on June 30, according to multiple media accounts.
During a forensic interview with police on June 23, the victim reportedly did not admit to being raped or identify Fuentes.
Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified at a pre-trial hearing on July 28, that the girl’s mother had inquired about an abortion in the Columbus area, but because of the estimated gestational age, the procedure could not be performed in Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Huhn said the girl traveled to Indianapolis for an abortion but had to wait 18 hours. She had the abortion the next day by taking medication, Huhn said
The victim was reportedly six weeks and three days into the pregnancy at the time of the procedure.
On a second interview with police on July 6, the victim acknowledged – nonverbally – that she was assaulted by Fuentes, authorities said.
Authorities then collected DNA samples from Fuentes and the girl’s brothers to compare it with evidence from the Indiana clinic, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Police obtained a search warrant, and another DNA sample was taken from Fuentes on July 12. He allegedly admitted through an interpreter to assaulting the victim twice while she was 9 years old, the newspaper reported.
The judge ordered him to be held without bond because of the potential “traumatic and psychological impact,” for the alleged victim.
The case became a focal point for pro-choice and pro-life activists, with some conservatives initially questioning if the story was true.
The Indiana doctor who performed the procedure also faced backlash.
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