In April, a Michigan doctor was charged with performing genital mutilation on two young Minnesota girls. On Wednesday, feds dropped what the Detroit Free Press calls a "bombshell" in the case: They estimate not two but up to 100 girls had their genitals cut by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala. "The Minnesota victims were not the first victims," Assistant US Attorney Sara Woodward told a judge as part of what is the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in federal court. The government says it has evidence of eight victims (though the Detroit News notes the case at hand still just involves the two). The feds arrived at their estimate based on defendant Dr. Fakhruddin Attar's alleged statement that he gave Nagarwala use of his Livonia clinic as many as six times a year over a dozen years.
The allegation came as Woodward argued Attar and his wife, who is accused of helping to calm and restrain the girls during the procedure, should not be released on bail in advance of the October trial. A judge disagreed; they'll be on house arrest going forward, and barred from using the Internet. The prosecution argues the three, members of an Indian-Muslim sect called the Dawoodi Bohra, illegally cut the girls' genitals as part of a religious rite. The defense counters they simply underwent what the News terms a "benign" procedure that involved scraping the mucous membrane of the girls' genitalia; lawyers say what was removed was then deposited on gauze pads and returned to their mothers for burial. (The first person in America to be convicted of female genital mutilation was kicked out of the country in March.)