An illegal immigrant in Ohio has allegedly confessed to the rape of a young girl in a case that bears similarities to a widely reported claim about a pregnant child who traveled to Indiana for an abortion.
Gershon Fuentes, 27, of Columbus, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with first-degree rape. Police said he confessed to raping the child at least twice, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The outlet noted that police were informed of the girl’s pregnancy after her mother reported it to Franklin County Children Services on June 22.
NEW: Per ICE source, Gerson Fuentes, the man charged with raping & impregnating a 10-year-old girl in Ohio, is a Guatemalan national in the U.S. illegally & ICE has placed a detainer on him with local law enforcement. The victim later traveled to Indiana for an abortion. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/NWftShZejw
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) July 13, 2022
Columbus Police Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified during Fuentes’ Wednesday arraignment that the young girl received an abortion in Indianapolis. DNA from the Indianapolis clinic that performed the abortion is still being tested to confirm Fuentes committed the crime, he said. The young girl’s siblings are also being tested.
Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner set bail at $2 million, saying the suspect is a possible flight risk and danger to the child.
It is still unclear whether Ohio law forced the girl to cross state lines to obtain an abortion, since the pregnancy likely would have caused a health risk to the girl and thus would be covered under Buckeye State law. Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie, citing a “source,” questioned whether the girl was “simply referred to an expert in a different state.”
Hasnie: “What is still unclear… is whether this girl was forced to cross state lines as the president alleged, or was she simply referred to an expert in a different state.” She notes that Ohio AG Yost said the young girl would’ve been able to legally get an abortion in Ohio.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) July 12, 2022
Ohio Attorney General David Yost, when previously expressing skepticism about the story, said that if the girl had become pregnant, Ohio law would not prevent her from having an abortion.
“This young girl, if she exists and if this horrible thing actually happened to her, it breaks my heart to think about it, she did not have to leave Ohio to find treatment,” Yost told Fox News host Jesse Watters.
Following news of the arrest, Yost released a short statement saying, “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets,” according to the Dispatch.
Yost later added that he’s “absolutely delighted that this monster has been taken off the street. If convicted, he should spend the rest of his life in prison.”
The original story led to questions about its veracity, given the scant details provided by an abortion doctor. Multiple news outlets, including The Washington Post, raised questions about the story.
The Dispatch reported that Fuentes allegedly admitted through an interpreter to raping the girl in a confession to detectives. The young victim also reportedly told police that Fuentes was the father of her unborn child. Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer also testified at Wednesday’s hearing that the girl had recently turned 10, meaning she was probably nine years old when she became pregnant.
Clark Torbett, a Franklin County public defender, said during the hearing that it was unconstitutional to hold Fuentes without bond, especially since DNA testing hadn’t confirmed he was the father. Torbett also said that Fuentes had lived in Columbus for the past seven years and had steady work at a café. An address for Fuentes was “not at the same location as the 10-year-old,” the Dispatch reported.