A Detroit-area doctor has been charged with performing genital mutilation on two young girls from Minnesota. Prosecutors say Dr. Jumana Nagarwala 44, of Northville, Michigan, was arrested Thursday, few days after two 7-year-old girls identified her as the person who performed medical procedures of Female genital mutilation(female circumcision) on them at a Livonia clinic in February of this year.
The FBI says the girls were accompanied to the clinic by their mothers.
Female genital mutilation of minors is illegal in the U.S. unless there’s a legitimate health reason. Nagarwala will appear in Detroit federal court Thursday. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer yet. In a court filing, the FBI says Nagarwala denied performing genital mutilation.
The FBI also says the doctor is a member of a cultural community that believes in the practice.
Nagarwala is also charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and making a false statement to a federal officer.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement:
‘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. The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law’.
‘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,’ acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division added.
‘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.’
Nagarwala is reportedly part of a Gujarati-speaking Muslim community in Michigan. She lives in Northville with her husband, Moiz Yusuf Nagarwala, 48, who works at Visteon Corporation, an ‘automotive electronics supplier’.
The FBI had launched an investigation after receiving a tip that Nagarwala had performed female genital mutilation on two seven-year-old girls at a Livonia medical clinic, according to the criminal complaint.
The girls said they were told to keep the trip secret.
One of the girls told the FBI that Nagarwala ‘pinched’ her on the ‘place where she goes pee.’ ‘adding that they were told not to talk about the procedure,’ FBI Special Agent Kevin Swanson wrote in the complaint.
A subsequent medical examination showed that the young girls’ genitals did not appear normal and a section had been altered or removed.
‘Finally, the doctor observed some scar tissue and small healing lacerations,’ the agent wrote.
The complaint details the second girl’s experience with the doctor and she said she underwent a procedure and identified Nagarwala as the doctor.
‘She said that she ‘got a shot,’ and that it hurt really badly and she screamed,’ the FBI agent wrote. ‘Her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it. ‘(The girl) said that after the procedure, she could barely walk, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle,’ the agent continued.
A subsequent medical exam showed the girl’s genitalia had a small incision and a small tear.
On Monday, Minnesota Child Protective Services personnel and a federal agent interviewed the second girl’s parents.
They confirmed the trip to Detroit, saying they took the girl to see Nagarwala for a ‘cleansing’ of extra skin, according to the court filing.
The girl was shown a photo of Nagarwala and said she was the doctor who performed the procedure, according to the FBI.
Henry Ford Hospital where Nagarwala worked issued the following statement:
‘The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility,’ health system spokesman David Olejarz said Thursday. ‘We would never support or condone anything related to this practice.’