On Wednesday, the Department of Justice took the first step in stopping the monstrous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States, announcing that the federal government has charged female doctor Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., of Northville, Michigan, with mutilating girls between the ages of six and eight.
The DOJ stated:
Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., of Northville, Michigan, is charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office inLivonia, Michigan. According to the complaint, some of the minor victims allegedly traveled interstate to have Nagarwala perform the procedure. The complaint alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately 6 to 8 years old. This is believed to be the first case brought under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM. Nagarwala was arrested and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit this afternoon.
“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “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.”
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
“The allegations detailed in today’s criminal complaint are disturbing,” said Special Agent in Charge David Gelios. “The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to doing whatever necessary to bring an end to this barbaric practice and to ensure no additional children fall victim to this procedure.”
The Detroit Free Press reported, “According to criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, two of the victims’ parents brought them to the clinic from Minnesota — pretending it was a ‘special’ girls trip — and later told the girls to keep what was happening a secret.”
Nagarwala was arrested Wednesday night; in her court appearance on Thursday she wore a veil that covered her head, neck and shoulders.
“The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch
A spokesman for The Henry Ford Health System admitted Nagarwala works for the hospital system. Health System spokesman David Olejarz said, “The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility. We would never support or condone anything related to this practice.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said this is the first such criminal case in the country.