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(WABNEWS) — A Columbus man is accused of raping a 10-year-old Ohio girl who later had to travel to Indiana for an abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to court proceedings WABNEWS obtained through its affiliate WBNS.
Rumors about the case drew national and international attention, with some US political leaders bringing it up in conversations about banning abortion.RELATED
Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arrested Tuesday, according to Columbus police and court documents. Fuentes has been charged with felony rape of a minor under the age of 13, according to the Franklin County Municipal Court. His first court appearance was on Wednesday.
Fuentes is being held on $2 million bail, according to the court. WABNEWS has reached out to Fuentes’ attorney for comment.
Fuentes confessed to police Tuesday that he raped the girl at least twice, Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday at Fuentes’ arraignment.
Fuentes “spoke to us and admitted to having vaginal intercourse with the victim on no fewer than two occasions” and was later arrested, Huhn said.
Police were first alerted to the girl’s pregnancy through a referral to a local department of children’s services made by the 10-year-old girl’s mother, Huhn testified.
The incident reported to police occurred on May 12, according to a police affidavit. Columbus police were notified on June 22 and began their investigation that day.
On July 6, the girl identified Fuentes as her attacker, and on Tuesday police with a search warrant obtained a DNA swab from Fuentes’ saliva, according to the affidavit. Fuentes went to police headquarters that day for questioning where he confessed to raping the minor, she says.
The girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, Huhn testified. DNA from the Indianapolis clinic was being analyzed using samples from Fuentes and the girl’s siblings, the detective said.
Fuentes’s next court appearance is July 22, court documents show. Fuentes is an undocumented immigrant, a spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to WABNEWS.
in a statement Conducted on Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said, “My heart aches for the pain suffered by this little girl.”
“I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department to secure a confession and get a rapist off the street,” Yost said. “Justice must be served and (the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation) stands ready to support law enforcement throughout Ohio in putting these criminals behind bars.”
After the Roe v. Wade, an Ohio law went into effect that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis-based obstetrician and gynecologist, previously told WABNEWS that after being contacted by a child abuse doctor in neighboring Ohio, she helped a 10-year-old girl get an abortion in Indiana. The girl was six weeks and three days pregnant, Bernard told WABNEWS.
The doctor said she saw an immediate influx of patients seeking abortions in Indiana, particularly from the border states of Kentucky and Ohio, which passed laws severely limiting abortion care following the Supreme Court decision.
The Columbus Dispatch newspaper he was the first to report on the case and the arrest. The Columbus Police Department did not immediately provide additional details about the arrest.
“Out of compassion for the victims, we will not comment on any statutory rape,” Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Joe Albert told WABNEWS.
WABNEWS reached out to the Ohio Attorney General, Franklin County Children’s Services and an Indiana-based abortion provider for additional details.
In the days before details of Fuentes’ arrest emerged, some conservative media outlets and Republican officials had expressed doubts about the case or about the existence of the girl.
Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, tweeted: “Another lie. Anyone surprised? The tweet has since been deleted.
WABNEWS’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this story.