Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Area doctor charged with genital mutilation on girls

Area doctor charged with genital mutilation on girls

An emergency room doctor from Detroit is facing federal charges, accused of performing female genital mutilation on young girls.

The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recived information that Dr. Nagarwala was performing FGM, in the Eastern District of Michigan, on girls "who were about 7 years old at the time", said Swanson, "at a medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan ('Medical Clinic')". She stated that she was brought to Detroit for "special girls trip".

"Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls", acting U.S. Attorney in Detroit Daniel Lemisch said in a statement. Her lawyer, Bloomfield Hills attorney Shannon Smith, declined comment. Agents sought court permission for Nagarwala's phone records via her phone company.

According to the complaint against Nagarwala, members of a particular religious and cultural community are known to use the procedure - which some see as a way to curb sexuality in girls.

The federal complaint says Nagarwala is a member of that community.

Dr. Nagarwala is employed by Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, the Detroit News confirmed, and she has been put on administrative leave.

"The allegations detailed in today's criminal complaint are disturbing", said Special Agent in Charge David Gelios. The doctor, however, could get 10-years to life in prison for another crime she was charged with: Transportation of an individual with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. They stayed at a hotel in Farmington Hills and ended up visiting Nagarwala, thinking they were seeing the doctor because their "tummies hurt". Officials said the glove had the girl's first name written on it.

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.

Court documents said Nagarwala's phone records revealed several phone calls to a family in Minnesota with a girl who just turned 7 years old. Multiple parents have admitted they brought their children to Nagarwala for the procedure, while others have denied any knowledge of it.

Female genital mutilation - or removing all or part of a female's genital for non-medical reasons - is considered a human rights violation, though it is practiced extensively in some African countries and areas of the Middle East, according to UNICEF.

Nagarwala voluntarily spoke with an HSI special agent and said she is aware that FGM is illegal in the US and that she had no knowledge of FGM being performed by anyone in her community. 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 investigation suggests there are "multiple" other child victims of Nagarwala.

Officials said the phone was tracked on February 3 from Minnesota to MI.

Nagarwala claims she has never performed such surgeries, of which she is aware is illegal. "MN-V-1 said that she was told not to talk about the procedure". Upon a medical exam on April 11, a doctor determined that the child's genitals had been altered or removed.

A June 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office found that increased immigration from countries where it is practiced had brought it to the United States, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2012, 513,000 women and girls here were "at risk of or had been subjected" to it. The specific cases claim that a pair of girls traveled from MI to Minnesota in order to see the doctor in February.

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