The subject of female genital mutilation is one that has received a lot of air time in Michigan this year. Several instances of this child abuse have been discovered and investigated in the Detroit area recently. This lead to criminal charges and CPS involvement for numerous families and individuals. This subject has been a hot button here in the Great Lakes State.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the details of these horrifying cases so far, here is a quick recap of events:
44-year-old Jumana Nagarwala of Northville, who formerly practiced emergency medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, has confessed to performing genital cuttings on two young girls from Minnesota. The girls explained during interviews with Homeland Security agents and CPS workers, that they had been taken to ‘the doctor’, where they lay on an examination table while Nagawala performed the mutilation. One young girl described the pain as excruciating, and said that she could hardly sit afterwards. Nagarwala had bond set at $4 million dollars because the federal court feared that she would flee the United States. She must also wear a GPS tether during her pretrial release.
Since the first two child victims shared their experience with authorities, other victims have been located. It was also later discovered that Nagarwala was not alone in performing the mutilation procedures. According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, of Farmington Hills, and his wife were also present when the procedures were performed. Dr. Attar is also the owner of the clinic where the young girls were brought to be mutilated and cut.
The results of these allegations have been ruinous for everyone involved. In addition to the loss of their respective jobs, and the criminal charges brought against them, there is the issue of their children. The accused, who come from both Wayne and Oakland counties, are facing termination of their parental rights to their own children. This means that not only could their children be removed by CPS, but that they might no longer have any rights to those children if their rights are terminated by a Michigan family court judge.
All three adults have also since been charged with Performing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on Minors.
Female genital mutilation has been illegal under federal law in the United States since 1996. However, in 2013 that law was amended to include what is sometimes called “vacation cutting”, which refers to taking a minor out of the country to have the practice performed in another country.
However, while the US outlaws this practice, Michigan didn’t have a specific law on the books at the time. This was quickly rectified in the wake of the cases being made public. A number of bills were introduced, making FGM in any format a 15 year felony in Michigan, and were pushed through the House and Senate with unprecedented speed, receiving wide bipartisan support. They were signed into law by Governor Snyder in early July.
But while the new laws made FGM illegal in Michigan and outlined the harsh penalties involved, there was no mention made of what would happen to the victims. Or even whether or not the parents who had advocated for FGM for their daughters would have sustained contact with their children after the fact. Michigan House Representative Peter Lucido is hoping to change that.
Lucido has crafted a bill that would have serious repercussions for families who allow their daughters to undergo any form of FGM. According to Lucido, “We are in America, We are not in a foreign country.” The bill, which passed the House on Thursday, would take away the parental rights of anyone who allowed a physicians to perform female genital mutilation on their daughter/s. House Bill 4716 passed 89-16 in the House, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
This situation is a classic example of how difficult and confusing it can be when one person’s cultural or religious beliefs collide with another’s. What is viewed as acceptable, or even necessary, in one part of the world, may be considered a crime in another part. With that in mind, if you or a family member have been accused of a felony in state or federal court here in Michigan contact the experienced defense attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm. We are here to help you. We can be reached at 1 866-7NoJail; 1 866-766-5245.