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An illegal immigrant has been charged with the rape of a 10-year-old Ohio girl whose story garnered widespread news coverage after she reportedly traveled across state lines to obtain an abortion following the activation of Ohio's abortion ban that went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Police in Columbus, Ohio, arrested 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes on Tuesday after he allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting the child on at least two occasions. He has been charged with rape, a first-degree felony, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The charges appear to confirm the viral story of the 10-year-old victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion after her rape. The report was cited by President Joe Biden, among others, who used the details of that horrific crime to criticize abortion restrictions favored by pro-life Republicans and label the Supreme Court's decision "extreme." Skeptics had initially questioned the details of that story, demanding to know whether anyone had been charged with the girl's rape.
At an arraignment hearing for Fuentes Wednesday morning, Columbus Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified that police were first informed of the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, the Dispatch reports. The girl was provided with a medication abortion — the two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol that causes miscarriage — in Indianapolis on June 30, Huhn reportedly said.
Huhn also testified that DNA from the abortion clinic in Indianapolis will be tested against samples from Fuentes, as well as the victim's siblings, to confirm his paternity.
Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner ruled that Fuentes should be held with a high bond because of his "undocumented" status, the possibility that he is a flight risk, and the danger to his alleged child victim.
Ebner reportedly set a $2 million bond for Fuentes, who is being held in the Franklin County jail.
The Indianapolis Star first reported on July 1 that a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio had traveled out of state to seek an abortion. The article's source was Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist and abortion rights activist. Bernard was critical of the impact Ohio's newly enacted abortion restrictions would have on vulnerable women, including rape victims, who feel they have no choice but to terminate their pregnancies.
President Biden cited the story last Friday during a speech from the White House announcing an executive order to secure abortion access after the end of Roe v. Wade.
"Just last week, it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim — 10 years old — and she was forced to have to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate the presnency [sic] and maybe save her life," Biden said, fumbling the word "pregnancy."
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later said that Biden "spoke to that young woman" but declined to share her identity because she is a minor.
"The president spoke to that young woman just to show how extreme the decision on the Dobbs decision was and just how extreme it is now for American public, the American families when there is no exception at all," Jean-Pierre told reporters.
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