The man charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl in Ohio is a Guatemalan illegal immigrant, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) source told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
The Columbus Dispatch first reported that Gerson Fuentes was arrested after police said he confessed to raping a child on multiple occasions. He has been charged with rape, and the outlet reported that he was possibly in the country illegally.
The source told Fox that Fuentes is a Guatemalan national in the country illegally and that ICE has placed a detainer on Fuentes, which is a request he eventually be handed over to the agency for removal proceedings.
ICE later confirmed to Fox News Digital that Fuentes is in the U.S. unlawfully.
"On July 13, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations lodged an immigration detainer on Gerson Fuentes following his arrest by the Columbus, Ohio Police Department for felony rape charges. Fuentes is currently in the custody of local officials at the Franklin County Jail," an ICE spokesperson said on Thursday. "Fuentes has no previous immigration history."
The story of the alleged rape was initially published in the Indianapolis Star in the context of the victim reportedly having to cross state lines to Indiana to get an abortion due to the state’s laws. It was cited by proponents of abortion access, who highlighted it as an example of the consequences of access being limited.
The story was eventually echoed by President Biden in a speech last week in announcing measures to protect abortion access in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade.
"Ten years old. Raped, six weeks pregnant. Already traumatized. Was forced to travel to another state. Imagine being that little girl," Biden said.
But the story was questioned by some abortion opponents and fact-checkers, given its single source reliance on a Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist who said she had spoken to a "child abuse doctor" in Ohio, and its scant detail. The outlet defended its reporting. It drew scrutiny as well from the state attorney general, who said that exceptions to Ohio law would have allowed the girl to obtain an abortion in the state and who said he had not heard of a report being filed in the case.
Fox News reported on Tuesday that an arrest warrant was expected in the case, and a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation had been filed against the doctor who leaked the story.
The Biden administration has narrowed ICE enforcement priorities to three categories: public safety threats, national security threats and recent border crossers. While a court order recently stopped the administration from implementing the memo narrowing the priorities, a rape charge would almost certainly make an illegal immigrant fit into the category of a public safety threat.
Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie and Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.