Ohio Man Accused Of Raping 10-Year-Old  Girl Pleads Not Guilty

The 27-year-old defendant, Gerson Fuentes, 27, is charged with two felony counts of rape in a court in Franklin County, home to the state capital Columbus. He could face life without parole. Police say the man confessed to raping the girl on two separate occasions upon his July 12 arrest. He is being held without bond ahead of a bond hearing that’s yet to be scheduled.

The girl’s 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.

Prior to the suspect’s arrest, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, both Republicans, were among conservatives who publicly questioned the story’s validity and the child’s existence.

Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion ban law defines an emergency as life-threatening or involving a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” Under that definition, the 10-year-old’s condition wouldn’t have risen to the threshold of an emergency, Kellie Copeland, director of Pro-Choice Ohio, an abortion rights group, said Wednesday.

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