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‘That’s child abuse.’ Outrage and charges after 10-year-old boy gets tattoo on video

A 16-year-old tattoo artist in Ohio faces two misdemeanor charges after police say he tattooed a 10-year-old boy. A video of the procedure went viral and caused widespread outrage among tattoo artists, the public and police.
A 16-year-old tattoo artist in Ohio faces two misdemeanor charges after police say he tattooed a 10-year-old boy. A video of the procedure went viral and caused widespread outrage among tattoo artists, the public and police. Facebook video screengrab/WSYX

A mom in Ohio posted a video to Facebook that scooped up thousands of views over the last few days, but for all the wrong reasons.

It ticked off a lot of people.

Police in Logan County say the mom shot video of her 10-year-old son getting a tattoo from a 16-year-old tattoo artist, the Springfield News-Sun reports.

Now the young tattoo artist faces two misdemeanor charges and the mom, who has not been named, could face charges as well, according to the newspaper.

“The phones have not stopped ringing,” Lt. Rick Herring of the Bellefontaine police department, told WSYX on Tuesday. “We’ve gotten calls from several different states from people that are concerned for the welfare of this child.”

Part of the video can be seen on the TV station’s website, with the faces of everyone in the video blurred. They appear to be in a private home, not a tattoo studio. The News-Sun reported that earlier in the week the video had been shared more than 14,000 times on Facebook.

The 10-year-old is shirtless, sitting on a woman’s lap while the teen inks his right arm, the needle buzzing noisily.

“I’m a father and I’m a grandfather. What I saw bothered me,” Herring told WSYX.

It bothered professional tattoo artists, too. The News-Sun reported that it’s illegal in Ohio to tattoo a child without parental consent, and police said tattoos must be done in safe, sanitary places.

“It boggles my mind that someone could actually do that to their child,” Dustin Hysell, who owns Fate tattoo shop near the campus of Ohio State University, told WSYX in a follow-up report on Wednesday. “That’s unsanitary for something like that to happen.”

Dayton tattoo artist Nick Harrison told the News-Sun he was bothered that the boy being inked was so young.

“That’s child abuse, I would say,” he told the newspaper. At Blue Byrd Tattoo where he works, the rule is that patrons must be 18 or older, he said.

If a 10-year-old wanted a tattoo, “I think most of us would probably laugh them out the door,” he told the newspaper.

The News-Sun reported that the 16-year-old boy was charged Thursday with a misdemeanor count concerning the sterilization of equipment; he’s also charged with violating safety and sanitation standards.

The boy’s mother has not been charged, WGN reported, “but the case has been referred to the municipal prosecutor’s office for possible misdemeanor charges. The state’s children’s welfare agency also has opened an investigation into the family.”

Pharmacy professor David Grant in one of his most popular lectures, on the toxic heavy metals in the ink used for tattoos. Video courtesy of UConn.

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