The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A northwest Georgia couple arrested for giving six of their children homemade tattoos say they didn't do anything wrong. The kids, they say, wanted the tattoos to be like Mom and Dad.
"I'm their mother," Patty Jo Marsh said late Saturday. "Shouldn't I be able to decide if they get one?"
Georgia law prohibits tattoos from anyone other than a licensed professional. Children under 18 are also prohibited from getting tattoos.
Marsh and her husband, Jacob Bartels, did the tattoos in their Summerville home. They cleaned up a tattoo machine someone gave them, and used guitar strings as a needle. Out of the seven children in their custody, only the youngest child did not get a tattoo.
"They weren't hurt by them," Marsh said. "We would never do anything to hurt them."
Marsh said the children, ages 10 to 17, wanted the small cross tattoos, and the couple did them after Thanksgiving. But when two of the children spent a weekend after Christmas with their biological mother, she reported it to DFACS and police.
At least 10 police officers searched the family's home on Dec. 28, Marsh says, and she and her husband were arrested. They were each charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing, something Marsh they didn't realize was illegal.
"If we knew that, we wouldn't have done it," Marsh said.
The couple bonded out of jail Friday, and now is awaiting a court date. DFACS temporarily took the children out of the home, Marsh said. But now all of the children are home.
Marsh says she feels that the entire incident has gotten blown out of proportion. The couple contends they are good parents, but now they're being labeled child abusers, which Marsh says is untrue.
"If I'm such a bad parent, then how come they brought the kids back right after I got out jail?" Marsh asked.
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