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article imageGeorgia couple charged with child cruelty for tattooing six kids

By Joan Firstenberg     Jul 4, 2010 in Lifestyle
Summerville - A Georgia couple who decided to tattoo the hands of six of their children with a device made from a guitar string have been hit with several child cruelty charges.
The couple allegedly tattooed six of their children with a homemade device made from a guitar string connected to an electric motor.
The New York Daily News reports that police arrested Patty Jo Marsh and husband Jacob Edwards Bartels late last year after the biological mother of some of the children discovered markings on their hands wouldn't wash off.
Marsh and Bartels have each been charged with three counts of illegal tattooing, second degree child cruelty and reckless conduct. The couple was released Friday after posting a property bond of $10,000 each.
Georgia has a law that makes unlicensed tattooing and the tattooing of minors illegal.
Police say five of the six children, aged 10 to 17, were given a small black cross tattoo on their hands. Another child had "mom and dad" lettered on one hand. The youngest child was left unmarked.
Police described the homemade tattoo gun as a plastic pen with a needle made from a guitar string that was connected to an electric motor.
Patty Jo Marsh thinks this is a big overreaction by the public to the tattoos. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "We would never do anything to hurt them. I don't understand why this is getting blowed up so big."
But the Chattooga County Sheriff, John Everett says he thinks it is a big deal. "It's unusual. I've never seen parents tattooing their kids like that."
When news broke of the children's tattoos, The Georgia Department of Family and Childrens Services placed all the youngsters with other family members.
Marsh says she gave the children tattoos because "They asked us to."
But upon her release on bail, Marsh told the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, "I'm their mother. Shouldn't I be able to decide if they get one? They weren't hurt by them."
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