Michigan Tattoo Artist Arrested Over Nude Photos Of Underage Girls

A tattoo artist has been arrested and charged with two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes. A family member claims that a 15-year-old girl met the 42 year-old man on Facebook. The teen's family says that they downloaded photos showing the private body parts of females as canvases for tattoos.

"He had hundreds of pictures on his Facebook page," one of the alleged victim's aunts explained to WOOD TV. The entire Facebook page was removed, but the family says they downloaded the pictures for evidence. The 15-year-old's aunt says that the illegal tattoo artist, named as Raymond Lee Veenstra, picked up her niece, took her to his home, and talked her into taking off her underwear in order to be tattooed.

"He's not charging them. It's really not a business he's not making any money. All he is is getting them to get naked and that's why I contacted you guys," the alleged victim's aunt told WOOD TV about the illegal tattoo artist. "He's a pedophile."

Neighbors of Veenstra say that they had heard rumors of illegal tattoos. In Michigan, it is now against the law to tattoo without a license and the state only issues licenses to inspected facilities, not to individual artists.

"My husband and I have been noticing there's just been a rapid amount of younger girls, people that are not familiar with the neighborhood coming and going from that place," said Lois Buckley, who lives across the street from Veenstra in Grand Rapids. Police were called weeks ago and finally made an arrest. Veenstra was also charged with a health code violation.

The Kent County Health Department warned the public during the investigation about the dangers of "tattoo parties," and "freelance home artists" calling them "scratchers," and stating that there is a greater risk of disease from artists who do not operate in a state-licensed facility.

"The state law protects consumers by ensuring that (licensed) artists receive specific safety training before performing body art procedures,"Adam London of the Kent County Health Department explained. "Anyone receiving body art should know about the risk of transmission of diseases such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as severe bacterial infections that can cause permanent scarring."

"We know that there are other 'scratchers' out there," Shane Green of the Kent County Health Department explained. "We hope that they get the message that what they are doing is illegal and dangerous, and it won't be tolerated."

Raymond Lee Veenstra of Grand Rapids was charged on Friday for operating an illegal tattooing business in the 500 block of Marietta Street NE in Grand Rapids. Police also interviewed several underage victims resulting in two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes. Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Terry Dixon told MLIVE that detectives believe there are more victims, but declined to go into further details due to the open investigation. Police are asking anyone with additional information about the illegal tattoo artist and his violations against minors to call 616-456-3400 to file a report.

[Stock photo via Pixabay]