A Detroit emergency room physician was charged Wednesday with mutilating the genitalia of two 7-year-old girls in what is believed to be the first case of its kind brought under federal law.
Jumana Nagarwala of Livonia was charged with female genital mutilation, a five-year felony, and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, a 10-year felony, according to a complaint unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Female genital mutilation is a barbaric ritual performed in the Muslim world with the intent of reducing sexual pleasure in women. The procedure involves the complete removal or partial removal of the clitoris and is illegal in the United States.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala performed the procedure on girls between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, according to a complaint filed in federal court. The child victims reportedly included girls brought in from different states.
One 7-year-old girl was brought from Minnesota by her family for a “special girl’s trip,” according to the complaint. The victim told authorities she had to visit Dr. Nagarwala to “get the germs out.”
The same child victim reportedly underwent a medical exam on April 11, during which a doctor noticed her genitals had been “altered or removed,” WXYZ-TV reported. The child was able to identify Dr. Nagarwala as the person responsible.
F.B.I. agent Kevin Swanson wrote in his sworn affidavit that one child victim said “her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco said Dr. Nagarwala is accused of betraying her “oath to care for her patient” and is “alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse,” Blanco added.
Read the entire complaint below:
Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch called female genital mutilation a “particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls” and a “serious federal felony” in the United States.