Who is Gerson Fuentes? Ohio man, 27, impregnated 10-yr-old who had to travel to Indiana for abortion
Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arrested Tuesday, July 12, after confessing to raping the 10-year-old victim who had to go to Indiana from Ohio to seek abortion at least twice, according to police. His last known address was an apartment on Columbus' Northwest Side. He has since been charged with rape, a first-degree felony in Ohio. The unidentified child made national headlines when she traveled from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion after the state outlawed the procedure after six weeks — just hours after the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision.
Fuentes was arraigned on Wednesday, July 13, just days after some conservatives, including Ohio's Republican governor and attorney general, questioned the case's veracity. The arrest came just one day after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said his office didn't hear a "whisper" about the 10-year-old girl who allegedly had to flee the state to get an abortion, and that there's 'no biological evidence' of the case because a rape kit was not performed. However, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday, July 13 morning at Fuentes' arraignment that Columbus police were made aware of the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services made by her mother on June 22. Huhn stated that the girl had a medical abortion on June 30 in Indianapolis, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
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Huhn also testified that DNA from the Indianapolis clinic is being compared to samples from Fuentes and the child's siblings to confirm contribution to the aborted fetus. Judge Cynthia Ebner of Franklin County Municipal Court ruled that Fuentes, who is believed to be undocumented, should not be held without bond. Ebner stated that a strong bond was required due to Fuentes' potential flight risk and for the child's safety. According to a probable cause statement, Huhn and Det. David Phillips took a saliva sample from Fuentes before arresting him. Fuentes is being held in the Franklin County jail after Ebner set a bond of $2 million.
The case was first reported earlier this month by The Indianapolis Star that a 10-year-old rape victim traveled from Ohio to Indiana for abortion services three days after it became illegal in her home state. On Monday, June 27, three days after the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to overturn Roe v Wade, Dr Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist who provides abortion services, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio. The child was six weeks and three days pregnant then.
The case quickly went viral and became a top talking point for abortion rights supporters, including President Joe Biden. "Imagine being that little girl," Biden said Friday as he decried the high court’s decision. "I’m serious. Just imagine being that little girl. This isn't some imagined horror," Biden said. "It is already happening. 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 pregnancy and maybe save her life.''
Biden slammed the Supreme Court for its decision. He called the justices ''out of control'' and worked with ''extremist elements of the Republican Party". Whereas, some abortion opponents and republicans had refused the case and labeled it as unproven. Yost, a Republican, told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Monday, July 11 that his office had not heard "a whisper" of a report being filed for the 10-year-old victim.
"We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere," Yost said on the show. "Even more telling, Jesse, my office runs the state crime lab. Any case like this, you're going to have a rape kit, you're going to have biological evidence, and you'd be looking for DNA analysis,' he said. 'There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this", he added.
Whereas, on Wednesday following the news of the arrest of the accused Columbus man, Yost issued a single sentence statement: "We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets." He 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." "My heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child. I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department in securing a confession and getting a rapist off the street", the statement added further. "Justice must be served and BCI stands ready to support law enforcement across Ohio putting these criminals behind bars".
AG Yost today issued the following statement regarding Columbus Police Department's arrest of the rapist that impregnated a 10-year-old victim. pic.twitter.com/UPNM1pK3ks— Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (@OhioAG) July 13, 2022
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On Wednesday's, 13 July hearing, the 10-year-old also told police Fuentes was the father of the pregnancy, Huhn testified. Meyer said the girl had just turned 10 recently, meaning she was likely impregnated at 9 years old. According to Clark Torbett, an attorney with the Franklin County Public Defender's office, holding Fuentes without bond is unconstitutional, especially since DNA confirmation of the pregnancy's father is still pending.
Fuentes had lived in Columbus for seven years, he said and had a steady job at a café. He also had a home address that was not in the same neighborhood as the 10-year-old. Fuentes could face a life sentence in prison if convicted.