The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Republican Compassion for the Girl They Said Didn’t Exist

Previously I mentioned that a 10-year-old girl was raped and impregnated and then forced to leave Ohio because the new abortion laws would mandate she carry the pregnancy to term.

Ohio’s Republican attorney general, David Yost, publicly dismissed the story and said no such thing ever happened. He asserted there was “not a damn scintilla of evidence” that it ever happened.

Republican Governor Kristi Noem (R) said it was “fake to begin with” on Twitter and called it “literal” fake news. Rep. Jim Jordan (R) tweeted that the rape was “Another lie. Anyone suprised.” When the arrest of the rapist proved Jordan was the one lying, he merely deleted the tweet and pretended it never existed.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal showed itself to be fools and described the story as a “fanciful tale” when they dismissed it. They called it an “abortion story too good to confirm” the same day the rapist was arrested and ridiculed President Biden for even mentioning the case.

Fox News did an entire segment claiming the story was fake. Jesse Watters, one of the loudmouths there, claimed “No one reported this child rape to law enforcement.” Fox claimed the physician who first mentioned the case was just a publicity seeker.

Across the far Right — they have almost no moderates left — the claim was made this story was a lie. Why? Because they wanted it to be a lie.

In simple terms political extremists tend to be True Believers and True Believers don’t judge conclusions by the evidence. They start with the conclusion and then judge the evidence by whether it agrees with their preconceived notion or not. You constantly hear it when they demand special laws on their behalf to protect “sincerely held beliefs.” It doesn’t matter to them whether those beliefs are true or in compliance with the facts. All that matters is they believe it.

Watters took the position the story couldn’t be true because he didn’t see evidence, the physician’s statement was insufficient for him. But then that’s no surprise. The physician’s credibility depended on whether she agreed with Watters or not. He claimed the case was a fraud because he couldn’t find any authorities who had, “begun a criminal investigation into the rape.” There are hundreds of jurisdictions in a state such as Ohio and we don’t know which he asked, if any.

He also dismissed the case because, “we haven’t found any evidence that this child rape was reported to law enforcement or any child welfare system.” Calling clinics and asking them if they reported this doesn’t yield results as any decent clinic is reticent to tell strangers on a telephone the private details of their patients. On top of it, the police could easily have asked anyone with knowledge about the case to remain silent until the investigation is done and an arrest is made. They wouldn’t want the suspect fleeing the state, as his victim was forced to do.

If you go around and ask random clinics if they had a patient who was raped the clinic is unlikely to answer. So Watters dismissed it because, according to him, “You would think the story of a sexual abuser roaming free assaulting 10-year-olds would raise quite a few concerns in small town Ohio, but no one seems to be doing anything about it.”

But there’s a problem for True Believers blinded by their own irrational ideology—reality often contradicts them. The authorities who were supposedly doing nothing about the case and not investigating it, because a case was never reported to them, arrested 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes “for raping a 10-year-old girl from Ohio.” The arrest was conducted by Columbus, Ohio police and a court arraignment has been held.

On Monday, Fox News claimed the whole story was fake and no investigation existed. In addition they said authorities knew nothing about it. On Tuesday those authorities, based on a real investigation arraigned a man who was charged with the rape. It took all of one day to prove Fox had no commitment to the truth and is inept at basic journalism — but then it’s a propaganda mill, not a news service. Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal seems anxious to join them.

What caused the police to investigate? The Columbus Dispatch reported, “Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday [July 13] morning at Fuentes’ arraignment.”

Police ran the DNA of the suspect and presented him with the conclusion he was the rapist and he confessed. So DNA was gathered and tested yet one day before the arraignment Attorney General Yost told Watters there wasn’t even a whisper that such a case existed: “We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere.”

He then doubled-down: “I know the cops and prosecutors in this state. There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn’t leave him loose on the streets … I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence.”

Yost assured Watters, “Something maybe even more telling is my office runs the state crime lab. Any case like this, you’re going to have a rape kit, you’re going to have biological evidence and you would be looking for DNA analysis… There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this.”

Yet it was the DNA evidence that caused the suspect to confess—DNA evidence Yost assured the world didn’t exist. Either he never bothered to investigate whether a case existed, or he was lying. A third option is Yost is so inept he didn’t know how to check up on a case that clearly was under investigation since late June. An investigation was clearly being conducted even as Yost was denying it existed, DNA was collected and tested, though Yost said it never happened. A whole string of claims were made by conservatives to prove the case was fake, every one of those claims has now been proven false.

So how does Yost respond? He praised law enforcement for doing what he said they weren’t doing and never mentions his false claims to the public:

“My heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child. I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department in securing a confession and getting a rapist off the street. Justice must be served and BCI stands ready to support law enforcement across Ohio putting these criminals behind bars.”

Now his heart aches for a child he assured the world didn’t even exist.

UPDATE: Republican Attorney General of Indiana, Todd Rokita, has continued the GOP tradition of lying about the case while seeking attention for himself in the media. He started by publicly attacking the attending physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, as a suspected criminal for failing to file reports regarding the abuse of the child and the procedure: “Dr. Caitlin Bernard had requirements to do both under Indiana law. The failure to do so constitutes a crime in Indiana, and her behavior could also affect her licensure.”

He never bothered to check the facts before implying on national television that Bernard was a criminal. A local Fox outlet reported that Rokita “responded by threatening to go after Bernard’s medical license.” The same station also said they easily obtained a copy of the report which “shows that Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana obstetrician-gynecologist, reported the abortion on July 2, two days after the abortion was performed and within the three days required for terminations to be reported to the Department of Child Service and the Indiana Department of Health.” They even reprinted a copy of the document on their website.

More bizarrely Rokita tried to blame President Biden—the all powerful Demon in GOP theology—because the rapist was a migrant. The cult-ownd right-wing Washington Times reported: “Mr. Rokita took a shot at the Biden administration’s loose border security, suggesting that none of this would have happened if the nation’s immigration laws had been enforced.” They quoted Rokita shooting off his mouth with: “This is an illegal immigration issue because … of Biden’s lawlessness at the border and everything going on down there.”

While it is true the confessed rapist is a migrant neither Biden nor his policies mattered because the rapist arrived BEFORE Biden was elected! The Columbus Dispatch could only find vague information as to when the rapist came to the United States and said it was maybe “about seven years” ago. Biden was only in office 1 1/2 years. Depending on whether the arrival was just under seven years, it is possible he arrived while Donald Trump was in the White House. So while Trump might possibly have been president at the time, we know for sure Biden was not. Once again Rokita invented a false claim without bothering to obtain facts. And this clown is the top legal official in the state of Indiana—boy am I glad I escaped that hell hole… and never went back!



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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.