An Ohio man has been charged in the rape of a 10-year-old who traveled from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion, according to The Columbus Dispatch, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The girl’s story, first reported by the Indianapolis Star, quickly went viral, becoming a flash point of debate on social media and in the news, including being cited in remarks by President Joe Biden as he signed an executive order attempting to protect access to reproductive care, including abortion and contraception.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arrested on Tuesday after police said he confessed to raping the girl. He has been charged with first-degree felony rape in Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reported the child had received a medical abortion on June 30 in Indiana after traveling from Ohio where abortion is banned after six weeks without an exemption for rape.
The 10-year-old was six weeks and three days pregnant when treated by an Indianapolis physician who treated the girl after receiving a referral from an Ohio child abuse doctor according to POLITICO.
Fuentes, whose last known address was in Columbus, Ohio, is being held on a $2 million bond in the Franklin County Jail. He is believed to be in the country illegally.
The charges now confirm the story that became a talking point for abortion-rights advocates and was questioned by anti-abortion groups, Republican politicians and news outlets.
Before the arrest, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost questioned the story in a Fox News appearance on Monday, saying his office hadn’t heard “a whisper” of a report being filed involving a 10-year-old victim. In an interview with the USA Today Network Ohio bureau on Tuesday, Yost said that as more time passed without confirmation, the more likely the story was “a fabrication.”
After the news of the arrest on Wednesday, Yost released a statement saying, “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets,” adding later 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.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the girl’s pregnancy was reported to Franklin County Children Services by her mother on June 22, and Columbus police were made aware of the case.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office said the office plans on investigating the Indiana doctor who provided abortion care to the 10-year-old victim, reported Politico.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a Fox News appearance his office is gathering evidence and plans on fighting the case to “the end,” including looking into the doctor’s license if she failed to report the child’s case.
“This is a child, and there’s a strong public interest in understanding if someone under the age of 16 or under the age of 18 or really any woman is having abortion in our state,” Rokita said in his Fox News appearance. “And then if a child is being sexually abused, of course parents need to know. Authorities need to know. Public policy experts need to know.”
Records show the doctor reported the procedure two days after treating the girl, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday afternoon. Indiana law requires a report to be filed within three days for patients under age 16.
Both Indiana and Ohio have reporting requirements for abortions connected to rape allegations.
Currently, abortion in Indiana is banned after 22 weeks with some exemptions for health conditions.