A Detroit Emergency Room physician was charged by complaint for performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on minor females.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Detroit Field Office made the announcement.
Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., of Northville, Michigan, is charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia, 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 allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the community,” said Special Agent in Charge Francis. “My sincere hope is that these charges will give support to those who have allegedly suffered both physically and emotionally.”
A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI’s Detroit Division and HSI investigated the case with support of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and the FBI’s International Human Rights Unit, Criminal Investigative Division. Deputy Chief Sara Woodward of the Eastern District of Michigan and Fraud Section Assistant Chief Nick Surmacz and Trial Attorneys Amy Markopoulos and Malisa Dubal are prosecuting the case.
The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of FGM or Dr. Jumana Nagarwala. Please call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984)