Looks like the basics of the story panned out, and skeptics such as myself jumped the gun. Police have charged a 27-year-old man in Columbus, Ohio for two counts of rape involving a 10-year old girl who later sought an abortion in Indiana. Left unexplained is the precise reason the family took the child to Indiana for the abortion:

A Columbus man has been charged with impregnating a 10-year-old Ohio girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion led to international attention following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and activation of Ohio’s abortion law.

Gershon Fuentes, 27, whose last known address was an apartment on Columbus’ Northwest Side, was arrested Tuesday after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. He’s since been charged with rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio.

Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday morning at Fuentes’ arraignment. On June 30, the girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis, Huhn said.

Fox News began reporting overnight that police had a case percolating involving a 10-year-old rape victim, but didn’t have any details. Ohio AG Dave Yost had appeared on Fox News Channel the night before, claiming that he had scoured his office and contacted law enforcement agencies around the state and hadn’t heard “a whisper” about such a case.

DAVE YOST, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL (R): Not a whisper and we work closely with the centralized law enforcement system in Ohio. We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs. Not a whisper anywhere. Something even more telling, Jesse, is my office runs the state crime lab. Any case like this you are going to have a rape kit, you are going to have biological evidence, and you would be looking for DNA analysis, which we do most of the DNA Analysis in Ohio. There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this.

So how did this case develop without the AG office’s involvement? Yost isn’t explaining that contradiction today. He did release a terse statement after the arrest and booking:

On Wednesday, once news of the arraignment came, Yost issued a single sentence statement:

“We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.”

That’s pretty weak sauce, especially given Yost’s near-categorical denial that the case existed at all. He did concede that Indiana might be working on such a case in his conversation with Jesse Watters, but last time I looked, Columbus is still in Ohio and in his jurisdiction. How did Yost miss it, especially when he went on national television to make such a categorical claim?

Yost also claimed that Ohio’s abortion law would have allowed the girl to get an abortion. That still appears to be true, at least in theory, as a pregnancy for a 10-year-old girl would certainly seem to qualify as a “medical emergency” under the law. The Ohio law is based on cardiac activity (a “heartbeat” bill) rather a six-week deadline too, so the exception may not have even been needed at six weeks and three days’ gestation. However, a clinic might have thought twice about cutting close to the edge of the law in both regards given the political climate and suggested/referred the family to a clinic in Indiana instead. That is certainly a plausible scenario, and even seems pretty likely now.

Is that what happened? It seems unlikely that the family will want to come forward to explain it after all of the publicity that erupted around the case. Nor should they; now that we know that this actually happened, we should allow the family their privacy — and push to have the book thrown at the suspect if proven guilty. Instead, we should just acknowledge that we got this one wrong and learn to remain skeptical even of our skepticism until all the facts are in. My apologies for getting this one wrong.

Addendum: The Columbus Dispatch notes that the suspect appears to be “undocumented,” which is another issue entirely. Let’s wait to find out whether that’s true and is at all meaningful before analyzing it.

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