WASHINGTON — A Detroit emergency room physician has been charged with allegedly performing female genital mutilation on young girls, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
In a news release, the DOJ said Jumana Nagarwala, of Northville, Michigan, allegedly performed the procedures out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan, on girls who were 6 to 8 years old.
According to the complaint filed, two of the parents confirmed to investigators were aware that Nagarwala did the procedure, but others denied knowledge of the procedure or said it didn’t happen.
The news release said this is believed to be the first case under law 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes female genital mutilation.
Nagarwala was arrested and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit Thursday afternoon, according to the release. It was not immediately clear if Nagarwala had an attorney.
“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 said. “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.”
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in 2012 found that roughly 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. were at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, which was more than three times higher than an earlier estimate based on 1990 data.