Bail Is Denied in Genital Mutilation Case

Times Staff Writer

A federal magistrate denied bail Tuesday for a self-described “body modification artist” accused of offering to perform illegal circumcisions on two young girls during an FBI undercover investigation.

In reaching her decision, Judge Carla Woehrle cited a prosecutor’s disclosure that Todd Cameron Bertrang, 41, of Canyon Country might be charged with additional crimes of possessing child pornography and being an ex-felon in possession of a gun.

Bertrang and a companion, Robyn Faulkinbury, 24, were arrested last week on a charge of conspiring to violate the 1995 Female Genital Mutilation Act, which prohibits the circumcision of girls under 18 unless performed by a licensed physician and only if necessary for a patient’s health.

Authorities began investigating Bertrang in 2002 after receiving a tip that he had performed an illegal circumcision on a 10- or 11-year-old girl. But the U.S. attorney’s office acknowledged last week that it had no evidence he had performed the procedure on any underage girls.

“They don’t have a single victim in this case,” Bertrang’s lawyer, Gary P. Kast, told the judge Tuesday. He said it was against Bertrang’s philosophy to perform “any kind of body modification on a minor.”


According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Bertrang offered to perform the circumcisions in a series of e-mail exchanges, phone calls and visits to his home by an undercover agent.

Outside the courtroom, Kast said he doubted that his client had made any such offer.