A man was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children on Wednesday for performing female genital mutilation on his young daughter in 2001. This is believed to be the first criminal case of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the US. The girl’s father, 30-year-old Ethiopian immigrant Khalid Adem, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but could have received up to 40 years, Reuters reports. “The child has suffered, will suffer, the rest of her life,” said Judge Richard Winegarden during sentencing, according to the Associated Press.
During the trial, Adem testified that he had never cut his daughter, nor did he ask anyone else to do so, reports the AP. He said he grew up in the capital of Ethiopia and considers FGM to be a practice carried out in rural areas. Adem’s lawyer tried to imply that the girl’s mother, who divorced Adem in 2003, was responsible for the cutting the girl, even though she has worked on passing anti-mutilation laws in Georgia state.