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October 3, 2023

Man jailed for raping Ohio child who travelled for abortion

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape of a nine-year-old Ohio girl in a case that made headlines after the victim had to travel to another US state for an abortion.

Gerson Fuentes, 28, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of rape in last year’s attack.

The child went to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy after her home state restricted access to the procedure.

It happened after the US Supreme Court overturned abortion rights.

Prosecutors noted that they could not find any evidence that Fuentes, a Guatemalan national, was in the US legally.

He will only be able to apply for parole after 25 years and could be deported. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

“Anybody who has ever been in this courtroom for the last 20 years knows how this court feels about babies, young people being violated,” Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch said at Wednesday’s sentencing.

Fuentes had confessed in an interview with police to raping the child twice, according to court documents. DNA testing of the aborted foetus confirmed he was the father.

Referred by a child abuse doctor in Ohio, the victim visited a clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, to have an abortion on 30 June when she was six weeks and three days pregnant, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

The girl, who turned 10 before the procedure, had to cross state lines as Ohio had outlawed abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Legislators acted to restrict access to abortion hours after the Supreme Court repealed the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, which guaranteed women the right to terminate pregnancies.

The doctor who carried out the girl’s abortion was fined $3,000 (£2,400) in May by Indiana officials for violating her patient’s privacy by speaking to media about the case.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board, however, did not suspend Dr Caitlin Bernard’s licence.

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