The man convicted of raping and impregnating a nine-year-old Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion has been sentenced to life in prison. Gerson Fuentes, 28, entered a plea agreement in Columbus, Oh., that will allow him to be eligible to seek parole after 25 years, The Guardian reports. Even if he succeeds, Fuentes would also have to register as a sex offender and face a lifetime of in-person verifications every 90 days. Last July, Fuentes was arrested and charged with raping the child in a case that dominated nationwide headlines after the girl was then forced to visit neighboring Indiana for an abortion to avoid Ohio’s six-week “trigger ban,” a law banning abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy, which went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. Fuentes, who is from Guatemala, had confessed to raping the girl at least twice. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita launched an investigation into Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who performed the abortion on the girl.
Rokita accused Bernard of violating state law by not reporting the child’s abuse and violating patient privacy protections. Bernard sued Rokita, accusing him of causing her reputation “irreparable harm.” Bernard became the center of a political firestorm after conservative media called the story “not true” and a “lie”. President Biden condemned the case, saying, “She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life … Ten years old – 10 years old! – raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.” In May, the Indiana state medical board ruled that it will allow Bernard to continue practicing and that she will not lose her license. It also found Bernard not guilty of violating reporting requirements about child abuse. The board did rule that Bernard violated patient privacy laws in discussing the case with the media. It reprimanded her and fined her$3,000.