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. Matt…

    that last comment was just in general, not towards you. Just wanted to clarify.


    You do love to argue don’t you? I’m not attacking you one bit, just stating my opinion. Which last I heard, THAT wasn’t a crime.

  2. Matt,

    For the record. I would not tattoo my children before they were really old enough to want it and know what they were getting into. It is a lifetime. Hell, I didn’t get my daughter’s ears pierced until she was 12, when she REALLY wanted it done. I do have a love for tattoos, mine have extremely sentimental value.

    My argument is and always will be (aside from it being gang related) the laws vary, Georgia what they did is illegal, the state I live in, it’s not to the degree it is in Georgia. SO YES, I do find it ridiculous they are accused of child abuse.

    You want to condemn them for being gang members, then by all means do that.

  3. April,

    I’m wrong all the time and have no issue with it.

    Unlike the effort you put into your response which shows you have a real problem with being accusing of whining. Which whining is in the eye of the reader, so do the math.

    Let’s be clear:

    “You continually ignore the fact I have said I don’t agree with what they did”. No, I didn’t. I said you don’t understand valid consent as it relates to parental rights. That has nothing to do with ignoring you. It has everything to do with pointing to the hole in you logic.

    You disagree with THE LAW. You don’t like me. There is a difference. Disagreeing with the law means you disagree with the law. Not liking me doesn’t mean a damn thing . . . not to me anyway. See, I don’t live or operate to your satisfaction. Because I don’t have to.

    So now you are trying to attack me in a passive-aggressive manner. Aw, isn’t that cute! Not very well I might add. You know your options: change the law or leave the country.

    You were wrong about the law and the nature of valid consent – that was my assertion from the start. You just admitted as much. And your disagreeing with the legal facts that the parents are child abusers? Well why don’t you go to law school and defend them then. Good luck with that.

    I just said the only villain was your ignorance of legal relations and core concepts required for proper understanding, your disapproval of the parent’s actions notwithstanding. If you have a problem with that?

    It’s your problem.

    Feel better? 😀

  4. AY–

    “So, the question that begets answering now. Since, to circumcise (spelled it without wincing once) is now a public health measure, is it not abuse to not have it performed at birth rather than 7 days later which is an acceptable custom?”


    There are “health” pros and cons to consider before circumcising a male infant.

    From NIH:

    “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend routine circumcision. Parents need to decide what is best for their sons, based on their religious, cultural and personal preferences.”

  5. Buddha,

    “And none of your outrage circumvents what I’ve said about illegality.”

    What outrage?

    April considered your post to be a personal attack because it was. She said nothing to indicate that she encouraged breaking the law. She didn’t express any outrage. Maybe it’s just your writing style.

  6. You see, I’m not agitated Buddha. Again, I do not have a misunderstanding in the legal nature. I just disagree with you. You don’t seem to like that much.

    I posted the laws in my state. IT is NOT illegal to tattoo a minor here, it is illegal for someone to do WITHOUT the parents consent. You keep overlooking this statement. Here I will post them again.

    Subdivision 1. Requirements. No person under the age of 18 may receive a tattoo unless the person provides written parental consent to the tattoo. The consent must include both the custodial and noncustodial parents, where applicable.

    Subd. 2. Definition. For the purposes of this section, “tattoo” means an indelible mark or figure fixed on the body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars.

    Subd. 3. Penalty. A person who provides a tattoo to a minor in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    I’ve not gone about whining, bitching as you have accused me of, but stated my opinion.

    I’ve not tried to make anyone out a villian. I did not say I misread an article. The article I read did not state all the facts.

    See I have never said I was right, nor accused you of being wrong, but only was having a polite debate. You don’t seem to like that, and it would seem you are the only one that’s right. Seriously, you are the one full of anger…

    Ok you’re right. I’m wrong. Feel better? 🙂

  7. Illegal in Georgia? -Yes
    Gang Tattoo? -Not enough information provided. A simple cross IS NOT a gang tatto. A pachuco cross is considered to be a “gang tatoo”, but the article does not identify the tattoo to be a pachuco cross.

    I don’t think children should be tattooed with or without parent’s permission. What’s the hurry? Too many parents want to be the childs friend more than being the parent.

    April, You come across as a good and reasonable person. Your love of tattoos will likely be passed on to your children. I don’t have a problem with that. However, I think it would be a good idea to tell the child that they can get a tatoo when they turn 18. A tattoo should be an individual decision. It lasts a lifetime (or damn close). We all learn to live with our decisions. As much as possible, we should try to ensure that the decisions made by children don’t carry into their adult life. (They’ll have plenty of decisions made on their own to live with.)

  8. April,

    Bitching is a generic term synonymous with complaining. If I thought you were being nasty? Well I guess you haven’t read many of my posts or you’d know what would have happened in that circumstance. And it wasn’t how I replied to you.

    I haven’t attacked you one bit. There is nothing you’ve said to merit it. Just your stance and growing agitation which did merit response. Your reaction to being proven wrong says a lot more about you than it does about me. Please, try to make the villain here when the only villain is your misunderstanding of the legal nature of valid consent.

    You have a nice day too, sunshine.

  9. Buddha really, you need to simmer down. I haven’t been “bitching” as you say, I’ve not gotten nasty with you one bit. So really, your posts are beginning to make me laugh. You continually ignore the fact I have said I don’t agree with what they did.. again did I not say that? I also posted the laws in the STATE where I live. Should I say that again… The laws in the STATE where I live. Yes the government has laws, and then it breaks down into the individual states… does it not? So continue your rants and personal jabs at me all you want, personally, it’s shown more about your character than mine…….

    You all have a wonderful day……… PEACE

  10. April,

    I stipulate I misread (a hazard of multi-tasking), but AY is right. Crosses are gang tatt’s in some locales. Ask the LA and San Antonio gang units.

    And none of your outrage circumvents what I’ve said about illegality.

    Get as pissed off as you want. It doesn’t make you right. It has zero impact on me. Personal choice is not the law no matter what you think. The law is the law. The US is a country of laws, not men – although those in Washington have forgotten that as much as you choose to ignore it. Right now it’s illegal to tattoo children. You don’t like it? Get the law changed or move to another country. But your complaint has now strayed into frenetic bitching about “your choice”. You have that choice still. You can choose to obey the valid laws or you can suffer the consequences if caught. Just like any other criminal. Just like these parents. But you have all the choices you can pick from. If you make bad ones, that’s your karma, not the law.

  11. Well see, I look at a cross as being religious. I never would have associated a gang.

    I do agree the gang twist puts different light on it, but the article I had read didn’t mention it. Guess more will come out.

    Does it change my opinion because they are gang members? Not really. I don’t condone gangs, guess I’m more of the hippie type that looks at tattooing as freedom of creativity, and body art. That’s my perspective.

    They did break the laws of Georgia and served the time, children were returned. Do I have faith in our judicial system? Not really.

  12. Ya’ll make it sound like gangs are bad. At least the MS13, bloods and crips give people something to strive for. Its like working for the government. They just have a much more direct approach to supply and demand, cause and effect. etc

    The above was meant only as humor.

  13. Buddha,

    As I read it, the ages were 10-17, the 10 yr old DID NOT have it done.

    Where I live, it is NOT against the law to tattoo a minor, but it has to be done WITH parental consent, as I posted above. The laws vary from state to state, it’s sad that if they had done it where I live, they wouldn’t have been charged and called child abusers.

    That is the point I am making. IT is all personal judgment. As far as bringing raising your children to do crimes… what are you talking about here? Seriously, that has nothing to do with this topic.

    I stand by my opinion. I find this all ludicrous when there are children suffering under the hands of far worse parents. We’ve wasted taxpayers money.

  14. BIL,

    I think exposure to Metallica could be considered abuse. At least their new stuff, say post “Justice For All…”

  15. It should also be noted this wasn’t a butterfly or a Metallica logo.

    It was a GANG tattoo.

    It’s like putting a permanent bulls-eye on the kid.

  16. No April.

    You have rights up to a certain point. Just like everyone else. That point ends where you make decisions that are per se illegal. Raise your kids how you want. But if you tell them to rob or beat someone or to go buy guns or to get elective plastic surgery before they are at the age of majority and capable of valid consent it IS child abuse. You are misleading and/or damaging your child.

    You are encouraging them to break the law and for what? Aesthetics.

    And there are differing levels of abuse that merit different response. Returning the kids here absent other signs of abuse is fine as long as they are going to be monitored to keep the parents from doing this CRIME again.

    Just because you want to break a valid law as a parenting choice doesn’t give a free pass on the crime.

    Now if tattooing minors was a law derived from a Presidential signing statement? That’s a different story. I’d say get ’em tattooed from head to toe if you wanted as all of those laws are not legitimate as they violate the Separation of Powers doctrine and are not valid law to be obeyed or enforced by anyone loyal to the Constitution. But the laws we are talking about here are valid and serve a legitimate public interest.

    Personally? At 16 and with parental consent? I have no issue with that as long as 16 is the age of consent in your state even though the tattoo age limit may be 18. I think you’d have a good case for making some case law. But some of these kids were 10. That’s not a good argument. It’s a loser.


    Posted: Monday, January 04, 2010 10:20 AM by Mark Murray
    Filed Under: Congress, Democrats, Republicans
    From NBC’s Mark Murray
    Several staffers working for Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith, who recently switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP, have announced their resignations.

    The staffers include his chief of staff, legislative director, and press secretary.


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