9 June – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Two Southern California residents who agreed to perform female genital mutilation on two minors were sentenced this afternoon to federal prison terms after pleading guilty to conspiracy, child pornography and obscenity charges.
Todd Cameron Bertrang, 43, of Canyon Country, was sentenced to five years in federal prison. His girlfriend, Robyn Faulkinbury, 25, also of Canyon Country, was sentenced to two years in prison.
In May 2004, Bertrang and Faulkinbury each pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession of child pornography. Additionally, Bertrang pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and being a felon in possession of several firearms.
Court documents show that Bertrang had a business that offered body piercing and body modifications. After seeing Bertrang’s website, where he advertised these services, an undercover FBI agent contacted Bertrang in the fall of 2002. In a series of communications, Bertrang offered to perform female genital mutilation on two fictitious minor children, ages 8 and 12, for $8,000. During the investigation, Bertrang stated to investigators that he had performed more “female circumcisions” than anyone in the Western World, a claim that investigations have been unable to corroborate.
The case against Bertrang and Faulkinbury is the first case filed pursuant to the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1995, which outlawed the circumcision or removal of certain sexual organs of girls under the age of 18 unless it is necessary for the health of the patient and only if it is performed by a licensed medical practitioner. Neither Bertrang nor Faulkinbury is licensed to practice medicine in the state of California.
On December 19, 2002, the day that Bertrang and Faulkinbury were arrested, federal authorities executed a search warrant at their residence and discovered two computers that contained child pornography.
Faulkinbury also pleaded guilty to an obscenity charge for posting on Bertrang’s website pictures of herself following a female genital mutilation, which is sometimes called a female circumcision.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Southern California Regional Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team – the SAFE Team – which is made up of agents and investigators from a number of agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Medical Board of California.