An Ohio man accused of raping and impregnating a young Columbus girl learned his punishment Wednesday.
Gerson Fuentes agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. He will also be a Tier 3 Sex Offender.
The girl was raped at age 9, and then, at age 10 a few weeks later, had to travel to Indiana with her mom to get an abortion at the height of the Roe V. Wade overturn last year.
Police said Fuentes had confessed to raping the girl at least twice. Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill bans abortions after the heartbeat is found, normally after about six weeks of pregnancy. The victim was reportedly just a few days past the six-week mark when she traveled to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy.
Fuentes, who has remained in custody since he was arrested, originally pleaded not guilty but changed his plea Wednesday.
Attorneys in court Wednesday said that several weeks after the rape occurred, investigators went to the girl’s home and took DNA samples from her as well as from all males living in the home. Fuentes, the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, was among those living in the home at the time.
Judge Julie Lynch said prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to the deal that removed the need for a trial.
“Today, by the request of the family, this court will be sentencing without comment, and everyone knows how hard that is going to be for me because the court considers this the worst of the offense, but the family has asked for me to sentence without comment. The family has agreed to this and this hard pill for this court to swallow.”
“If that family hadn’t begged me to take this joint recommendation, this would never be happening,” Judge Lynch said.
The victim’s family did not speak. Fuentes spoke briefly only through a translator.
The Prosecution team did not comment after the proceedings. Fuentes’s defense attorney said he had been cooperative and wanted this resolved.