13-year-old gets body piercing without parent's consent

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by CHRIS HAWES / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 6, 2010 at 9:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 6 at 10:37 PM

FORT WORTH -- A North Texas father wants a business shut down after the tattoo and piercing shop gave his eighth-grader a body piercing. What makes it worse, he said is that the worker knew he was just 13. 

Tuesday, the city of Fort Worth ordered the shop to close as its certificate of occupancy is examined.

When Ethan Fitzgerald was asked why he wanted a tongue piercing he said, " I just thought it was cool and decided to get it done." Dig a little deeper, and you'll get to the source of many teen decisions.

"My friends got their tongues pierced," he said.

On Saturday night, Ethan said those pierced friends walked him into a stall in the flea market section of  La Gran Plaza in Fort Worth. "The only thing they asked me was how old I was, and I said I was 13, and then she was talking to my friends in Spanish and told me to sit down."

Legally, in Texas , only people 18 or over can get body piercings. An exception can be made only if the client brings a guardian's signature on a notarized form. But Ethan didn't have a form, only cash.That was apparently enough.

"He texted me probably around 6 p.m. Saturday and let me know he had his tongue peirced," said  Eric Fitzgerald, Ethan's father. 

Ethan said he knew his father would be mad. He did not, however, anticipate him calling the police. Eric Fitzgerald met officers at the business. The officer wrote no citations, but the case has been reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services. A spokesman said penalties could range from a criminal misdemeanor to administrative fines and sanctions.

Ethan removed the piercing and is grounded, but his father is afraid consequences may not end there. 

"I'm worried about him possibly getting something from possibly unsterilized equipment, and I'm having him checked out for that, as well."

News 8 could find no record of a piercing studio license with the state. The business did, however, have a tattoo studio license. A reporter contacted the number listed for the owners and was told they have no comment on the matter.

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