On Tuesday night we learned that Gerson Fuentes, an illegal alien from Guatemala living in Columbus, Ohio, confessed to raping a young girl who was just nine years old at the time. A little girl who should be playing with Barbies and My Little Ponies and jumping rope on the playground.
When you report on a story like this, you go into it hoping it’s not true. It’s hard to process the utter depravity of someone who would rape a child. It’s our job to read the police reports and the detailed descriptions of the crimes when we investigate these stories, but it’s never easy. You get a sick feeling in your stomach that takes a long time to go away.
In the case of the 10-year-old rape victim, the story was first reported by the Indianapolis Star, which apparently made no attempt to verify whether it was true—or at least refused to back up the story with evidence, leading even the Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, to call out the newspaper for its thinly sourced reporting. In fact, the story relied on the word of Caitlin Bernard, an abortion doctor/activist in Indiana. She claimed that a 10-year-old had to cross state lines in order to obtain an abortion because Ohio law would not permit it. In fact, Ohio’s heartbeat law has a stipulation that allows doctors to perform an abortion if he or she deems it a “medical emergency.” No court appearance is required, and no judge must be consulted—the doctor has the authority to make that call on his own.
From the beginning, many things about this story didn’t add up—and they still don’t. Our own Megan Fox—a dogged investigative reporter who always crosses her t’s and dots her i’s on stories like this—was the first to raise questions, both on Twitter and here at PJ Media. She asked why the Indy Star relied on a single source for the story. She wanted to see the police report, and, indeed, sent a trove of FOIA requests to the relevant agencies. She questioned why the girl had to be transported across state lines if Ohio law permitted her to get an abortion in her home state. No one was able or willing to provide answers to these questions, leading many of us to ask whether the whole thing was a hoax, designed to gin up opposition to pro-life laws. It’s certainly not unheard of for activists to fudge details or make up stories out of whole cloth to create a narrative. So Megan’s questions were worth asking and we stand by her reporting.
Now that a suspect has been arrested, there are even more questions. For example, why did the Columbus Police Department sit on the report of the rape of a child for three weeks? According to the police report (obtained by Megan), a police report was generated on June 22 but the rapist was not arrested until July 12, one day after the story went national with appearances by Megan and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Fox News. Were they working the case or was there some other reason? The perpetrator may have actually been living with (or at least near) the victim until his arrest. We don’t know for sure, but the scene of the crime was Fuentes’s apartment and his lawyer told the judge at a hearing on Wednesday that Fuentes “had an address where he could live that was not at the same location as the 10-year-old,” according to The Columbus Dispatch. Note the use of the word “could”—the suspect could live separate from the victim but perhaps was not at the time of the arrest.
The Dispatch reporting raises additional questions: Fuentes’s lawyer said he “had lived in Columbus the last seven years and had a steady job at a café.”
So the alleged rapist, an illegal alien from Guatemala, has been working—illegally—at a restaurant in Columbus for a number of years? Which restaurant and how many other illegal aliens are they harboring? How many immigration laws has the suspect broken over the past seven years? Has U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement been notified? Have they issued a detainer so that he can be deported once the court case runs its course? If so, will the city of Columbus and Franklin County honor it? (Don’t hold your breath. Columbus declared itself a sanctuary city.)
In addition, we still have questions about why both the Indianapolis Star and Caitlin Bernard have been mum during the course of this investigation. Bernard, who seems to put her face in front of a camera every chance she gets, has refused to give any details about why the child was brought to Indiana or whether she, as a mandated reporter, contacted authorities about the alleged rape of a child. Likewise, the newspaper has refused requests about their process for vetting the story.
The important thing to understand about this story is this: The man who raped a young girl is now behind bars. While we can’t say for sure, it appears that what prompted his arrest—remember, it was the day after Megan appeared on Fox News—was Megan’s reporting and the involvement of Ohio’s attorney general. In the end, that’s what matters here. While it’s true we speculated that the story may have been a hoax—we’ve seen dozens of them over the years—and it ended up being true, we are glad that the perp was arrested and will likely rot in jail—hopefully, a Guatemalan one—for the rest of his life. The truth is, we’re devastated that it wasn’t actually a hoax—not because we wanted to score political points but because it means an innocent little girl was raped, traumatized, and had to suffer through an abortion. We hurt for her and pray for her recovery—that she’ll receive the help and love she needs to get her through this nightmare.
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