Carter man charged with tattooing minor

John Thompson • Jan 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Some rarely seen charges were lodged against an Elizabethton tattooist on Thursday by a school resource officer with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.

Robby Jack Lafollette, 35, 149 Mill Pond Road, No. 5, was charged with tattooing of a minor, tattooing without a license and possession of tattoo paraphernalia without a license. The charges were placed by Deputy Shane Watson, who is the school resource officer for Hampton High School.

Watson said the tattoo was done on a 15-year-old boy. The tattoo said “Mom.”

“It is a bad problem at Hampton,” Watson said of students getting tattoos. “There are about 10 students who have fresh tattoos. ... There seems to be new ones every week.

Watson said it is against state law for someone to tattoo a minor except in certain cases with parental consent.

Although he charged Lafollette with misdemeanors relating to tattoos, Watson is not against tattoos. The deputy said he has a couple of friends who are tattoo artists.

“They are on board with me on this. ... They say the underground tattooers are giving them a bad name.”

Watson said one of the biggest concerns is with unsanitary conditions often found with nonprofessionals.

Even with those concerns, Watson said “I don’t know of any other cases where someone has been charged with tattooing of a minor.”

Even though it is against state law for a minor to get a tattoo in most cases in Tennessee, he said there are no such laws in surrounding states.

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