Georgia Parents Arrested For Giving Kids Tattoos

We previously saw the prosecution of a California father who gave his son a gang tattoo, here. Now in Georgia, parents Patty Jo Marsh and her husband, Jacob Bartels have been arrested for giving their children tattoos using a home-made tattoo device.

The parents borrowed a tattoo machine from a friend and used a needle made from guitar strings to give six of their seven children tattoos after Thanksgiving. The children range in age from 10-17. The ten year old was spared the experience.

The tattoos were spotted by their biological mother when they returned home (much like the earlier Fresno case). She was not pleased and called child welfare. In Georgia, it is illegal to give tattoos to children under 18 and it is illegal to give tattoos to anyone without a license.

The couple insists that they did not know it was illegal and only gave into the demands of the kids that they wanted small cross tattoos like their own.

They have been charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing without a license.
For the story, click here.

55 thoughts on “Georgia Parents Arrested For Giving Kids Tattoos”

  1. My exhusband and oldest daughter age 26 took my minor daughter age 16 over the Georgia state line because it is illegal in Georgia under age 18 to Alabama where it is legal at age 16 with parental consent to get a tatoo. One I was not asked by either party (as the biological mother), Two the tattoo says “Forever a Piece of Me” which I think could get taunting, demeaning and cruel remarks from teenage boys and girls saying things like ” I will take forever a piece of you” or Do you want forever a piece of me”, etc. If the law states no tattoos in your state under age I think the law should be enforced. My ex and my 26 year old says they did not break the law because they crossed the state line this is okay? Your thoughts on this reasoning? If there not a contributory to the delinquency of a minor or cruelty to children type of protection here? This is a permanent disfigurement. I have to say after being a mother who has suffered knowing this permanent skin damage and worry of demeaning and cruel comments to my 16 year old. Tattoo laws should be enforced. Not sure what I can do at this time but I am very sad for my 16 year old down the road.

  2. i dont agree
    Everyone has this hard to read.
    pay more attention to their children, give more love.
    some new just reflect on the problen, many people know that, but when it happen to themselves, what they do ? this is a question

  3. I agree with Jill’s core point.

    Parents do not own the bodies of their children. Millions of infant boys are painfully, permanently and irrevocably mutilated every year by circumcision, now approximately 56% of newborn males in the United States. These individuals have no opportunity to consent to this needless procedure, nor to stand up for the sanctity of their bodies or even rely on government to do so!

    Instead, government permits, promotes, and protects the institutions that exist only to profit from these mutilations. Government shields parents and the practitioners who buy into religious, cultural, or health propaganda from this system rather than protecting the victims of it.

    Reflecting on the failure of society in the United States to protect newborns from rites born from superstition and sexual puritanism shows how controlled we are. How can we fail to challenge an outrageous cultural norm as disfiguring and intrusive as circumcision? It is little wonder that this same society breeds proselytizing creationists, civilian and military torture systems, staggering entitlement ponzi schemes, warmongering imperialism, and boundless corruption perpetrated under the guise of governance. What evils are we actually capable of stopping?

  4. Bad news, Pamela.

    Permanently marking a child can result in both disturbance and injurious effect as the child enters public life and ages. Any prosecutor worth a dime can portray tattooing a minor, their child or not, as molestation by that definition.

    Molestation in this country is a oft abused definition because of shows like “To Catch A Predator”. People now read “molestation” and they think “pedophile”. Abuse takes many forms and some of them don’t leave physical marks nor are they sexual in nature. The first term of that definition is easily met in this case.

    You suggest are focused on the sexual abuse component of the definition. This one did and it will have repercussion on both the child’s self image and his/her ability to interact in society. See B’s post above for an example.

    However, molestation is a false flag. They have been charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing without a license, not child molestation. In Georgia, that crime is a narrowly defined sex crime:

    16-6-4. Child molestation; aggravated child molestation.
    (a) A person commits the offense of child molestation when he or she
    does any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any
    child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the
    sexual desires of either the child or the person.
    (b) A person convicted of a first offense of child molestation shall
    be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20
    years. Upon such first conviction of the offense of child molestation,
    the judge may probate the sentence; and such probation may be upon the
    special condition that the defendant undergo a mandatory period of
    counseling administered by a licensed psychiatrist or a licensed
    psychologist. However, if the judge finds that such probation should not
    be imposed, he or she shall sentence the defendant to imprisonment;
    provided, further, that upon a defendant’s being incarcerated on a
    conviction for such first offense, the Department of Corrections shall
    provide counseling to such defendant. Upon a second or subsequent
    conviction of an offense of child molestation, the defendant shall be
    punished by imprisonment for not less than ten years nor more than 30
    years or by imprisonment for life; provided, however, that prior to
    trial, a defendant shall be given notice, in writing, that the state
    intends to seek a punishment of life imprisonment. Adjudication of guilt
    or imposition of sentence for a conviction of a second or subsequent
    offense of child molestation, including a plea of nolo contendere, shall
    not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld.
    (c) A person commits the offense of aggravated child molestation when
    such person commits an offense of child molestation which act physically
    injures the child or involves an act of sodomy.
    (d) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated child molestation
    shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 30
    years. Any person convicted under this Code section of the offense of
    aggravated child molestation shall, in addition, be subject to the
    sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-

    If they had been charged with molestation? That’d be wrong. They don’t deserve to be on the sex offender registry because they didn’t molest the kids. But they did meet the standard for cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing without a license.

    A – Cruelty to Children

    Georgia Code – Crimes and Offenses – Title 16, Section 16-5-70

    (a) A parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge or custody of a child under the age of 18 commits the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree when such person willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child́s health or well-being is jeopardized.

    (b) Any person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree when such person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.

    (c) Any person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the second degree when such person with criminal negligence causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.

    (d) Any person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the third degree when:

    (1) Such person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or

    (2) Such person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery.

    (e)(1) A person convicted of the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree as provided in this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

    (2) A person convicted of the offense of cruelty to children in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

    (3) A person convicted of the offense of cruelty to children in the third degree shall be punished as for a misdemeanor upon the first or second conviction. Upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense of cruelty to children in the third degree, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be sentenced to a fine not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than three years or shall be sentenced to both fine and imprisonment.

    B – Reckless Conduct & Tattooing Without License

    I’m not going to bother to look those up because the name of the offense is clear enough.

    So, Pam, about the molestation? I’m glad you are mad about them being charged as molesters. It’d be righteous anger. Because they aren’t child molesters by the definition provided in Georgia state law (that we know of) and charging them as such would be wrong. Good for you and them they weren’t charged with child molestation. Well, not so good for them because they could beat that charge. These three? Not so much.

  5. 1 : to annoy, disturb, or persecute esp. with hostile intent or injurious effect

    Sounds right to me.

  6. I can’t believe that these people are being charged with molestation of a child.

    Legal definition should be able to stand.
    Main Entry: mo·lest
    Pronunciation: m&-‘lest
    Function: transitive verb
    1 : to annoy, disturb, or persecute esp. with hostile intent or injurious effect
    2 : to make annoying sexual advances to; specifically : to force physical and usually sexual contact on (as a child) —mo·les·ta·tion /”mO-“les-‘tA-sh&n, “mä-, -l&s-/ noun —mo·lest·er noun

    What are people thinking these day?

    The key words are “disturb” and “injurious effect”

  7. Hold on.

    I read all of this, a lot of you have good points, great thread by the way….

    I understand this in a legal sense. It is illegal to tattoo a child, they are not able to consent- yadda, yadda, yadda.

    But what about a child’s mindset? They don’t know what they are doing. Nor are they aware of the repercussions of being tattooed at a young age.

    Using myself as an example.
    I was tattooed at 17. It was totally ridiculous. But I thought, at the time, that it was AMAZING.

    “look at my sweet tattoos, yeah it’s totally awesome right!??! I mean, sure, I’ll still be obsessed with tetris when I’m 50- shaw! ”
    Now looking back and at my body, 10 years later I hate them. It was a bad choice, and I should of been able to think this incredibly serious permanent decision out.
    Guess what I didn’t do.
    Ding! Ding! Ding!
    You are correct- I did not think it out!
    Thankfully it was done in a clean professional setting.
    But guitar stings? At home. Are you joking?!?
    These kids do not know what they consented to. Possibly the older teenagers, but the younger ones? I don’t think so.
    This is not a tribe, this is not a cultural marking, this was white trash inking children for no other reason then to to it as others said, aesthetics. What a silly idea.
    They will regret it, and should of waited to do it at a consenting age, when they are legally adults.
    I don’t know if the crosses are gang related or not- But seriously: What.a.shame.

  8. April,

    You are simply wrong about valid consent. A child cannot give it absent examination by a doctor in relation to medical treatment nor when prohibited by statute as it is in most states at ages ranging from 16 to 18. Children cannot enter in to contracts or get married legally either. They lack competence to form those legal relation. Just like they are barred from having valid consent by statues that prohibit tattooing minors. Valid consent is intimately tied to capacity. Minors lack capacity to from legal relationships on their own absent intervention. The exceptions are almost universally for medical treatment – which requires also informed consent, or for applications for emancipation – which requires judicial and sometimes medical review.

  9. Buddha,

    The state where I live… ummm I’m not wrong. I’ve backed that argument. Pure and simple.

    Debating can be done without going to the level you do. That’s all. I won’t go to the level.

    May I ask why the name Buddha?

    Excuse me while I go train my children to break some laws after we all get tattoo’d and piercings and then we can really run amuck.

  10. “only one or two options. Don’t react or don’t read.”

    Again, the hazards of multi-tasking.

  11. Henry,

    Your statement, “I meant that any alteration of a child’s body (cutting hair and nails aside) is wrong because it does not respect the child’s body.” makes a lot of sense to me. Parents don’t own children. If kids want a cross tattoo, why not draw one on for a few days with a marker and that would end the matter. Actual “home” tattoo is unsanitary and could have caused a very bad infection. Any adults who would take such a risk with a child should not be allowed near them without supervision.

  12. Matt,

    You seem to have mistaken me for someone who cares what you think about how I operate.

    It would have been personal had I called her a moron. I said she was wrong. There’s a difference.

    You two need to grow some skin to debate around here and learn to distinguish tactics and operative statements from the filler. That’s just friendly advice. If you don’t think it get more heated than this? Go read the this thread:

    Attorney Orly Taitz Fined $20,000 for Frivolous “Birther” Litigation

    Things get VERY hot around here at times. Debate is dancing. We argue around here. Arguing is a martial art, not dancing.

    Here’s a hint: An angry opponent makes mistakes. Sun Tzu knew this.

    My countenance is a mask. It is an angry laughing sarcastic mask on purpose. I have only truly been angry here twice and both times I stipulated as such. People’s reaction to the prod is both informative and disarming. If either of you have issues with my technique? That’d be your problems. But it wouldn’t be if you kept your eye on the ball. That ball here is valid consent.

    Reacting to a prod is your reaction, not mine. Your reactions are under your control and if what I said got to you when it wasn’t germane to the the issue, the ball? That’s your reactions failing you. What I glean from your reactions is information. But a prod is not a personal attack. It’s a feint. It’s almost personal and if the recipient takes the bait? Well that’s just how it goes sometimes. Boo hoo. Where it goes from there depends on the actions of the prodded. I know how to attack ad hominem quite well (some here would call me a master) and I’m not going to display that on either of you. Neither of you merit that – it’s for true propaganda trolls only, not the merely misguided. But what you’ve seen here is the prod, not the stick. I’m like a porcupine crossed with a bear. Most people get to see the porcupine. The bear is for those who really are the bad guys. This isn’t a political thread. Neither of you are the bad guys. You don’t get to meet the bear. If you just don’t like me or my method, well, there are only one

    I’m betting neither of you are good at poker either. That’s not an attack. Just an observation.

    You enjoy your day.

  13. April,

    I agree with you: To consider these parents to be “child abusers” when we have so many real “child abusers” out there, is ridiculous. The parents made some bad choices. In this case, the bad choice can be seen for many years, but I don’t think it rises to the level of abuse that incest and beatings would indicate. The article doesn’t indicate where the tattoo was placed. If it was on the face or hands, I’d have much more of a problem than if it was on a place that cannot be covered up.

    You seem to be a responsible parent. Your children are lucky to have you.

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