A mother in South Carolina is drawing criticism from parents across the country for tattooing her 11-year-old daughter — an act deemed illegal in her home state.
Odessa Clay, 30, was arrested in late September and charged with tattooing a minor. Last week, Clay told WCTI-TV she only did it because her daughter asked her to.
The tattoo — a small, heart-shaped marking — was inked near the child’s right shoulder. Her mother told WCTI she first numbed the girls skin, then used her own tools to create the outline of the heart.
One law enforcement involved in Clay’s arrest told The Huffington PostMonday, he thinks the woman should receive a harsher punishment.
"I feel she oughta be charged with child abuse," Pamlico County Sheriff Bill Sawyer Jr. said. "She scarred her child for life."
As of Monday, North Carolina's Craven County district attorney said his office had no intention of pursuing elevated charges. The maximum penalty for tattooing a minor, District Attorney Scott Thomas said, is 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Clay’s arrest brings back memories similar case in Washington state. In July, a 13-year-old boy got a 6-inch dragon tattoo. The boy said he got the tattoo while on a trip with a family friend but refused to tell his parents who actually did it.
"The parents were not happy about it," Centralia Police Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald told KING-TV. "The parents would not have allowed or condoned it."
Officials at the Washington Department of Licensing told KING they plan on following up on a police investigation to determine whether disciplinary action needs to take place if the business involved is identified.
Both incidents have parents concerned. In the case of Odessa Clay, there opinions have lit up comment boards across the Internet.
“As a tattooed mom I think it’s highly inappropriate,” a woman named Samantha wrote on babycenter.com. “Just because your kid wants something doesn’t mean they should have it.”
“Children raising children,” a commenter named Lilgibronne posted on Yahoo Shine. “Shes your daughter, not one of your 30-year-old friends.”
Still, some say the charges Clay is facing are a little over the top.
“While I don't like tattoos, I think arresting a parent for letting a child get a small tattoo is ridiculous,” Albgrl posted on Yahoo Shine. “I've worked in social services and seen parents neglecting, abusing, harassing, starving, imprisoning their children. These parents don't always get arrested.”
What do you think? Should a parent face criminal charges for allowing their pre-teen and teenage children get tattoos?
Answer by dullscissors at 10:21 AM on Oct. 10, 2012
Answer by RachaelMommy3 at 10:37 AM on Oct. 10, 2012
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Answer by missanc at 10:32 AM on Oct. 10, 2012
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Answer by 3libras at 12:50 PM on Oct. 10, 2012
Answer by booklover545 at 10:23 AM on Oct. 10, 2012
Answer by Dardenella at 11:04 AM on Oct. 10, 2012
Answer by mompam at 1:58 PM on Oct. 10, 2012
Answer by Skepticchick at 2:18 PM on Oct. 10, 2012
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