No bond for accused rapist of girl who traveled for abortion

Jul 28, 2022, 9:04 AM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 9:26 am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of raping and impregnating a 9-year-old Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion was ordered held without bond Thursday by a judge who cited overwhelming evidence and the fact that he apparently is living in the U.S. illegally.

Gerson Fuentes, 27, faces two counts of raping the girl, who turned 10 before having the abortion in a case that has become a flashpoint in the national discussion about access to the procedure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. He has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Fuentes, who is from Guatemala, faces the possibility of life in prison with no chance of parole. That penalty and “not having any ties to this community that can be proved legally makes it a substantial flight risk,” Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch said after a 35-minute hearing.

The girl confirmed that Fuentes attacked her, Fuentes confessed to Columbus police detectives, and DNA testing of the aborted fetus confirmed Fuentes was the father, Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer and detective Jeffrey Huhn said in court Thursday.

Huhn said he was unable, when searching multiple databases, to find any evidence that Fuentes was in the country legally.

In denying bond, Lynch cited that evidence, the violence of the crime and the fact that Fuentes had been living in the same home with the girl and her mother.

“To allow him to return to that home, the traumatic and psychological impact would be undeserving to an alleged victim,” Lynch said. She also cited the “physical, and mental and emotional trauma” the girl suffered from enduring the rapes and the abortion, and finding her case at the center of the country’s abortion debate.

The case gained national attention after an Indianapolis physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, said the child had to travel to Indiana due to Ohio banning abortions at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat” after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

President Joe Biden cited the case when he signed an order July 8 trying to protect abortion access. Some conservatives and prominent Republicans, including Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, cast doubt on the story initially, then condemned the attack after Fuentes was arrested.

Fuentes’ attorney, Bryan Bowen, argued against a no-bond hearing and unsuccessfully asked Lynch to set a reasonable bond. He said there was no evidence that there was physical abuse outside of the rapes or that the girl had been put under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also said that Fuentes had family ties in Columbus, that he had a job, and that there was no evidence of a criminal history. Fuentes has lived in the area about seven years.

“We’ve heard evidence about the nature of the offense, but we have not heard any evidence presented about any danger that Mr. Fuentes would pose to any particular person or to the community,” he said. He declined to comment after Lynch’s ruling.

Dan Meyer, an assistant Franklin County prosecutor, said Thursday that Fuentes was providing for the girl’s family, including her mother.

Columbus police learned about the girl’s pregnancy after her mother alerted Franklin County Children Services on June 22. Huhn said Fuentes confessed to raping the girl, who turned 10 on May 28, on two occasions.

The girl saw a Columbus-area doctor in late June with a plan to have an abortion locally, but that wasn’t possible due to the gestational age, determined to be six weeks and four days, Huhn testified.

Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion ban includes an exception only for an emergency that is life-threatening or involving a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Indiana’s Republican Senate leaders proposed a bill this month that would prohibit abortions from the time an egg is implanted in a uterus, with exceptions in cases of rape and incest and to protect the life of the mother. The proposal followed the controversy over the Ohio girl’s abortion in Indiana.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer speaks inside the Recorders Office, Nov. 9, 2022, in...
Associated Press

Dominion conspiracies highlighted by Fox lawsuit have election officials concerned for safety

Maricopa County officials are bracing for what could happen when it comes time to replace its contract for voting equipment.
2 days ago
A building is damaged and trees are down after severe storm swept through Little Rock, Ark., Friday...
Associated Press

Tornado causes widespread damage to buildings, vehicles in Little Rock

A tornado raced through Little Rock and surrounding areas Friday, splintering homes, overturning vehicles and tossing trees.
2 days ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a cam...
Associated Press

Worries grow that Trump indictment could undermine public confidence in other investigations

Trump’s attempts to overturn those results amid false claims of widespread fraud are at the heart of two other ongoing investigations.
2 days ago
(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
6 days ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
9 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
No bond for accused rapist of girl who traveled for abortion