Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Help Me Howard: Teen Tattoo
Love them or hate them, lots of people have them. We're talking about tattoos. One mom's angry her teenager got tattooed but wondered how a tattoo parlor permitted it without a parent there? Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser tries to ink out an answer.
WSVN -- Terry Quintana: "I've got a ferret, a Chihuahua named Tofu and a beagle named Louisa."
Terry thinks her pets are cute, and we think they are fun to watch.
Terry Quintana: "She's eating the dog food."
A dog food-snatching ferret makes her smile. Her kids make her proud.
Terry Quintana: "I have a great relationship with my daughter. I'm extremely proud of her. She's been a joy."
One reason Terry adores Samantha, she is a very giving person.
Terry Quintana: "She volunteers and does missionary work for the kids in Mindo, Ecuador. She's a great kid, she's great."
Of course Samantha is still a teenager and still does things her mother doesn't like. Like last year, when she went to Ecuador to do missionary work and, to remember her trip, came home with a tattoo on her back.
Terry Quintana: "She went into town one afternoon and had one of the kids that attended the orphanage design it for her, and she came back with that memory."
Needless to say, Terry was not impressed with the permanent memory and had asked Samantha to avoid tattoos.
Terry Quintana: "I did ask her to wait until she was 18."
Then this year, the 17-year-old did what kids do, ignored her mother's request and, while in Miami, she got another tattoo of a dove holding a sunflower.
Samantha Sanchez: "A dove symbolizes peace, so it was like carrying me through life. I have an obsession with sunflowers, and my dad, when I was little, used to call me sunflower."
In Samantha's eyes, a beautiful gesture. In her mother's eyes, ugly.
Terry Quintana: "In my opinion, I thought it was hideous, I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, you just tattooed a bird on your stomach.'"
At first, Terry was mad at her daughter for going behind her back and disobeying her.
Terry Quintana: "I agree that it was part of her doing as well, but she's still a child."
And since Terry thought is was illegal to tattoo a minor, she turned her anger to the shop, especially after hearing how Samantha was able to get a tattoo.
Samantha Sanchez: "They said, 'You don't have an ID,' and I said, 'No, I don't, not with me.' They were really aware that I was 17, and my best friend is 18. She gave her ID. We were in front of the same person. They saw we were different people, and they still gave me the tattoo."
With the tattoo inked on her daughter's body, Terry demanded the shop owner do something.
Terry Quintana: "I asked her to please pay for the tattoo removal. I thought it was the fair thing to do considering that she did it while my daughter was a minor. She said absolutely not, basically said that it was an issue I needed to take up with my daughter."
And, in that respect, this minor shows her maturity and agreeing that she is old enough to share the blame.
Samantha Sanchez: "It's completely also my fault because I walked in there, I decided to get a tattoo. It was my actions that caused all this problem, but they should have told me no from the beginning."
But since they didn't say no, the question is, is the tattoo parlor responsible when a 17-year-old decides to get a tattoo without their parent's permission, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "The law here is clear, a tattoo parlor cannot tattoo anyone under the age of 18 without notarized consent from a parent or legal guardian. It is a crime if they do. As far as damages go, the tattoo parlor is clearly responsible for returning the money for the tattoo itself, but whether they would be liable for the cost of its removal, no court in Florida has ruled yet, but I believe they would be."
The tattoo parlor's co-owner first told us Samantha and her friend played games with the shop's employees to get the tattoo, but a few days later he said, 'The failure here was on both sides, and we just want to be fair.' They decided to refund the $88 for the tattoo itself and agreed to pay for half the removal.
As for the tattoo artist who gave Samantha the tattoo, the shop owner said they deducted $500 from his paycheck, and told him the next time he tattoos a kid he'll be fired.
Now, the final question, legally did Samantha do anything wrong?
Howard Finkelstein: "Samantha accepts part of the blame, but, in the eyes of the law, she did nothing wrong. She is a minor, she never said she was 18, and, therefore, according to the law, it's up to the adults to make sure that they do not tattoo an underage person."
With the blame spread out, Samantha now has to deal with the tattoo removal, and she knows it won't be fun.
Samantha Sanchez: "I obviously have to deal with the consequences. I did something wrong and went behind my parent's back."
Patrick Fraser: "If something like this happens to your teenager, since it's a crime you can report it to the police, but, before you do, remember, if your kid used a fake ID to get the tattoo, they can get in trouble as well. Samantha is in the clear because she never said she was 18."
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