COWETA COUNTY, GA - How young is too young to get a tattoo?
A “Jesus Loves” tattoo on an elementary school student led to the arrest of the girl’s mother and the tattoo artist.
A fifth-grade teacher at Arnco-Sargent Elementary in Newnan called police after she spotted the tattoo on a 12-year-old girl wearing a strapless dress at a school dance back in March.
The tattoo, which was on the girl’s shoulder, was a bluish-green cross with the word “Jesus” above the cross and “Loves” below it.
The girl originally told authorities that her father made her get the tattoo and that her mother got into a fight with him after she found out about it.
The child later changed her story and said that her father didn’t make her get the tattoo.At that time, she said that she wanted to get the tattoo and that her father had never mistreated her.
The father denied the girl's story and said that his daughter got the tattoo at a Super Bowl party in Sargent.
"Each of the parents had a different story and it boiled down to frankly just finger pointing," said Coweta County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jason Fetner.
According to Fetner, investigators were able to confirm that an aspiring tattoo artist, identified as Brenda Gaddy, gave tattoos to several people, including "a number of minors" at that party. Gaddy was videotaped tattooing one of those minors as more than a dozen people watched, Fetner said.
After initially denying the charges, the tattoo artist admitted to giving the child the tattoo but said that her mother gave permission to do so. She also admitted to tattooing at least two other minors, Fetner said.
"It's difficult to imagine how as a parent you think it's appropriate to supervise or allow someone to give your child a tattoo at that age," said Fetner.
The child's mother, 35-year-old Emmie Nolan, has been charged with being a party to a crime -- a misdemeanor. Investigators believe Nolan told her daughter to lie about where she got the tattoo. She has denied involvement.
"I think it's unfortunate in that the child actually wanted to get the tattoo," said Fetner. "It's not like the child was forced to get the tattoo, I think it just comes down to bad parenting."
Gaddy was charged with tattooing the body of a person under the age of 18.
Georgia Division of Family and Children's Services has an open case on the child, who has been placed in a home with relatives.
The girl's family did not respond to our request to comment.