The Columbus Dispatch reported on Wednesday that police arrested a 27-year-old undocumented Ohio man, Gershon Fuentes, after he confessed to raping a 10-year-old girl, which resulted in pregnancy. The viral story of the child who needed to seek an abortion out of state after Roe v. Wade was overturned was reported vaguely by the Indianapolis Star and was used as a political weapon to go after Republican legislators who advocate for abortion restrictions.
I reported on glaring errors and omissions in the reporting in the Indianapolis Star, which led to fact-checks by multiple news organizations, including Snopes and the Washington Post, neither of which could confirm the original claim. The single source behind the report was Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an activist abortion doctor who was in the media often advocating against abortion restrictions. Bernard refused to clarify whether or not she had reported the alleged crime to authorities, leading to a media frenzy that peaked on Monday night on Jesse Waters’ Primetime show on Fox News, where Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he was unable to find any reports of the rape of a 10-year-old in Ohio.
Yost also refuted Bernard’s claim that the child had to go to Indiana for an abortion, saying the situation would have been covered by emergency exceptions in Ohio’s heartbeat law.
The day after the attorney general’s appearance on Fox News, the alleged rapist was arrested and confessed to Columbus Police. According to the report, the Franklin County Department of Child Services received a report of the incident on June 22 from the child’s mother. It is not known how long it took DCS to give that report to the police, but the fact that the suspect was not arrested until after the story went viral raises questions.
PJ Media has reached out to both Franklin County DCS and Columbus Police to ask for confirmation of that report. As of Monday, Yost had no knowledge of any reports.
Bernard’s refusal to answer media, along with the Indianapolis Star reporters and editor refusing to clarify how they vetted the story, is still inexplicable, and many questions remain.
This is a developing story.