Area doctor charged with genital mutilation on girls

Some of the photos and descriptions in this story are graphic and disturbing.

A Detroit emergency room physician has been charged with allegedly performing female genital mutilation on young girls, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Female genital mutiliation is a practice performed in many Islamic countries but also in some African Christian and Animist groups. FGM involves removing varying amounts of the victim's, usually a pre-pubescent girl, clitoris, labia majoria, and labia minora.

In a court filing, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says Nagarwala denied performing genital mutilation. "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". Officials believe that the two young girls were victims of FGM performed by Nagarwala.

"Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls", acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said. The 11-page complaint issued accompanying her arrest makes guarded references to "members of a particular religious and cultural community". Investigators said the practice is performed in an attempt to suppress female sexuality and reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity. A spokesman for Henry Ford Health said the alleged mutilations did not occur in a Henry Ford facility and the health system does not support such practices. The graduate of the medical school at John Hopkins University does not work at the clinic "and there is no record of her billing for medical procedures there", according to investigators.

One of the victims said "her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it", Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Kevin Swanson wrote in his affidavit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. "The Minnesota family was part of the Community in Minnesota". In the US, genital mutilation qualifies as a criminal sexual act as the intent of the procedure is considered to abuse, humiliate, harass or degrade. Checking phone records, agents determined the phone had been taken to MI on February 3 and returned to Minnesota the next day. Farmington Hills has a very active Muslim community and hosted CAIR Michigan's 15th annual banquet.

The FBI says the girls were accompanied to the clinic by their mothers. She agreed to remain locked up pending a detention hearing on Monday, when a judge will determine whether to grant her bond or keep her jailed pending the outcome of her trial. One of the girls said that she thought she was coming to Detroit for a "special" girls trip, but after arriving at the hotel, she learned that she and the other girl had to go to the doctor because "our tummies hurt". "MN-V-1 said that she was told not to talk about the procedure".

Medical exams of both girls showed their genitals had been altered, according to authorities.

One of the victims described her ordeal to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as "getting a shot".

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, a physician at Henry Ford Hospital, is acaused of performing the illegal procedure on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia. She claims she screamed in pain as she was cut into, the procedure leaving her barely able to walk.

The doctor allegedly removed the girls' clitoral skin. Multiple parents have admitted they brought their children to Nagarwala for the procedure, while others have denied any knowledge of it.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala of Northville, Michigan, was charged Thursday and is accused of performing the procedure on multiple children, the US Department of Justice said.

  • Lila Blake