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Trial set for man accused in mutilation

LAWRENCEVILLE - The trial of a Loganville man accused of circumcising his young daughter five years ago is set to begin Oct. 23.

Khalid Adem, a native Ethiopian accused of using a pair of scissors to mutilate his daughter's genitalia, will go to trial facing charges of aggravated battery and cruelty to children, said Gwinnett County assistant district attorney Marty First.

Both charges carry a maximum of 20 years each, First said.

First did not comment on whether the defense plans to negotiate a plea for a lighter sentence, but First did say he expects a trial.

A calendar call was held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Tuesday, which is a procedure in which "attorneys announce their readiness or their unreadiness to try a case," First said.

Prosecutors say Adem performed the act sometime between September and October 2001.

The circumcision is an African tradition where a girl's clitoris is amputated, limiting sexuality and promoting female virginity.

In some cases, the girl's vagina is sewed shut, and only a small hole is left for urine and menstrual flow.

In the majority of cases, no anesthetic is used, and the procedure can result in heavy blood loss or even death.

Adem denies performing the procedure and claims what happened to his daughter was a vindictive act on the part of his ex-wife or someone associated with her.

Furthermore, he said he believes she went to police with the information in an attempt to keep Adem from his daughter permanently.

But during a preliminary hearing, a detective testified that the mother was afraid to let Adem see the daughter while his mother was in town because she thought they might perform the procedure during that time.

Adem told her: "What makes you think I haven't already?" the detective said. It was then that the mother took the toddler to the doctor's office, where a scar on her genitals was discovered.

The girl, now 5 or 6 years old, remains in her mother's custody.

The discovery of the Adem girl's circumcision was the first documented case of female genital mutilation in the United States.