Local News

Teen's tattoo leads to criminal charges

Posted December 15, 2008 3:31 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2008 7:28 p.m. EST

— A Fayetteville woman wants a local tattoo parlor shut down after her underage son illegally obtained body art there.

Toi Jenkins said her 14-year-old son went to The Ink Well, on Murchison Road, when she was out of town over Thanksgiving and came away with a tattoo on his left forearm.

"That's something that's permanent on his body for the rest of his life," said Jenkins, who noted she had previously told her son he couldn't have a tattoo.

"I'm angry at my son. I'm angry at the tattoo parlor," she said.

Jenkins called Fayetteville police and had Christopher Blayne, 20, charged with tattooing a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Both charges are misdemeanors.

North Carolina law prohibits anyone from tattooing a person under age 18. Unlike body piercing, there is no provision under state law for parental consent for a minor to obtain a tattoo.

"It was, like, he didn't care. He took (my son's) money, and he tattooed him," Jenkins said.

Jim Hayes, who oversees tattoo parlors for the state Division of Environmental Health, said a business would be shut down only if there was a sanitation concern, not because minors were being tattooed.

A judge could order an injunction to stop Blayne from working, but Hayes said that's also unlikely.

Blayne said clerks at the front counter of The Ink Well are responsible for checking customers' ages, saying he just does the artwork.

Mike Corbitt, owner of The Ink Well, said he would look into the incident to determine how the teen obtained a tattoo. He said the boy might have used a fake ID.

Workers at Chop Shop, a tattoo parlor in Hope Mills, keep detailed records of everyone who comes in, owner Pam Francis said. Each artist has the customer fill out a release form, complete with an identification number and date of birth, she said.

"You have to show an ID," Francis said. "North Carolina law, as far as I know, is very specific. It says (the minimum age for tattoos is) 18 – no exceptions."

Jenkins said The Ink Well shouldn't be in business if it can't follow the law.

"He's still a child, and he's still my baby," she said of her tattooed son.