Man charged with raping Ohio girl, 10, who was denied abortion

Gershon Fuentes
Gershon Fuentes appeared in court on Wednesday

A man in the US state of Ohio has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl who had to cross state lines for an abortion after her home state restricted the procedure.

Gershon Fuentes, 27, appeared in court in Columbus on Wednesday.

The unnamed girl’s plight has drawn international attention.

US President Joe Biden cited it at the White House as he slammed abortion restrictions, but sceptics had questioned if it was a hoax.

ADVISORY: This story contains details some readers may find upsetting.

Millions of women and girls lost a longstanding constitutional right to abortion after a US Supreme Court decision in June.

In a speech last Friday condemning that ruling, President Biden raised a report of the child’s case, angrily saying: “Imagine being that little girl!”

Hours after the Supreme Court decision, legislators in Ohio outlawed abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

The child was six weeks and three days pregnant, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Referred by a child abuse doctor in Ohio, the girl visited a clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, to undergo a medical abortion on 30 June.

Although efforts are under way to restrict abortion access in Ohio’s neighbouring state, the procedure still remains legal there.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, 26 US states have either severely restricted abortions or are expected to do so in the coming weeks and months.

According to prosecutors, the child may have been nine years old when she was attacked.

She told police she was pregnant because of Mr Fuentes, reports the IndyStar.

Police say the accused, who was arrested on Tuesday at a flat in Columbus, admitted raping the girl, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

A saliva sample from him was being checked against DNA from the abortion clinic in Indianapolis, according to local media.

Mr Fuentes is a Guatemalan national and is in the US illegally, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement source told Fox News.

Citing the risk that Mr Fuentes could flee or further endanger the child, Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner remanded him in custody, setting bail at $2m (£1.7m).

He faces life in prison if convicted.

The case was first reported on 1 July with few details in the IndyStar. As other news outlets struggled to confirm the story, prominent conservatives began to question its veracity.

Among the sceptics was congressman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, who had tweeted on Tuesday that the story was “another lie”.

As news of the court appearance emerged on Wednesday, Mr Jordan appeared to have quietly deleted that tweet.

A new one was posted in which the lawmaker called for the suspect to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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