An Ohio man was arrested Tuesday after confessing to raping a 10-year-old girl on at least two occasions, according to Columbus police, which led to the girl becoming impregnated and traveling to another state for an abortion.
The arrest and rape charges against the man, 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes, were first reported by the Columbus Dispatch.
The story of the 10-year-old traveling to Indiana for an abortion drew widespread attention earlier this month as an example of the effects of Ohio’s strict abortion laws.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June that revoked the nationwide right to an abortion, an Ohio law banning abortion past six weeks took effect. The law does not have an exception for rape. Dr. Caitlin Bernard told the Indianapolis Star that the girl was six weeks and three days pregnant when she took her on as a patient and performed the abortion.
But some Republican officials and conservative commentators cast doubt earlier this month that the story was true at all.
On Twitter, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said the story was “fake to begin with.” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board described it as “fanciful.” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told Fox News his office had not heard a “whisper” about the situation despite media reports.
In a later interview with USA Today, he said there was “not a damn scintilla of evidence” about the case and that it was a likely “fabrication.”
But on Wednesday, following Fuentes’s arraignment, Yost celebrated the arrest.
“We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the girl’s mother informed Franklin County Children Services about the pregnancy, and the agency informed Columbus police. The abortion was performed on June 30, according to police testimony at the Wednesday arraignment hearing.
A judge set Fuentes’s bond at $2 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Indiana has received an influx of abortion patients after Ohio and Kentucky passed restrictions on the procedure, according to the Indianapolis Star. The state’s Republican-dominated legislature has scheduled a session for later in July to discuss passing new abortion laws.