A Columbus man has been arrested and charged with rape in connection with the national headline-grabbing story about a 10-year-old girl who traveled from Ohio to Indiana to seek an abortion.
Police said Gershon Fuentes, 27, confessed to raping the child on two occasions, leading to the charges, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
A detective said the police were alerted to the pregnancy after the girl’s mother contacted Franklin County Children Services, resulting in a referral to law enforcement.
The girl got an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, the detective told the court.
Pro-choice activists highlighted the case as an example of what will happen as states restrict abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The rape case landed on the national radar last week after President Biden, citing a July 1 report in The Indianapolis Star, said the girl was “forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life.”
There was widespread speculation that the case was fabricated. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said his office had heard “not a whisper” about it.
At the same time, Mr. Yost said Monday there is nothing in the state’s heartbeat law that would have prevented her from being treated in Ohio.
“Ohio’s heartbeat law has a medical emergency exception broader than just the life of the mother,” Mr. Yost told Fox News. “This young girl, if she exists and if this horrible thing actually happened to her — it breaks my heart to think about it — she did not have to leave Ohio to find treatment.”
Ohio’s heartbeat law bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically six to eight weeks gestation.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis abortion provider, told the Indy Star that the girl was six weeks and three days pregnant.
The arrest and charges lend critical weight to the allegations. DNA from the Indiana clinic is being tested against samples from Fuentes and the child’s siblings to determine paternity, the police said.
Fuentes is being held in the Franklin County Jail on $2 million bail.
After news of the arraignment, Mr. Yost said: “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.”
• Valerie Richardson contributed to this story.