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Parents Tattoo Their Kids, Use Costanza Defense: 'Was That Wrong?'

Let's start off with the simplest form of this issue: Should it be legal for parents to put real tattoos on their children?

A Georgia woman, Patty Jo Marsh, apparently thought it was a fine idea. She said (after being released from jail on bail), "I'm their mother. Shouldn't I be able to decide if they get one?" The Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services felt otherwise. After being contacted by the biological mother of two of the children, who complained "the tats wouldn't wash off," the agency temporarily removed the Marsh's seven children from the home and called in police. The parents, Marsh and her husband Jacob Edwards Bartels, were then arrested and charged with three counts each of illegal tattooing, second-degree child cruelty and reckless conduct.

The story actually gets worse. It turns out that the parents used a needle made from a guitar string that they connected to an electric motor to tattoo six of their seven children (and themselves). Five of the kids (ages 10 to 17) had a cross tattooed on their hands and the sixth had "mom and dad" tattooed on his arm.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marsh says (in a defense quite reminiscent of that used by George Costanza in the "Seinfeld" cleaning-lady episode, below) that she didn't realize tattooing her kids was illegal. "If we knew that, we wouldn't have done it," Marsh said. She adds, however, that “If I'm such a bad parent, then how come they brought the kids back right after I got out jail?"

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 5, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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