Police: Bullies Forcibly Tattoo Young Special Needs Student
Donald Wyman, 20, Ryan Fisk, 19, Travis Johnston, 18, and Blake VanNest, 18
May 22, 2010
CONCORD, N.H. — Four people have been charged with tattooing a 14-year-old special needs student on his backside, against his will, Concord police said.
The boy, whose name was not released, told police the four told him he wouldn’t be picked on at Concord High School if he submitted to it. An image, with two obscene words was tattooed on him May 10, police said.
The victim was targeted because he’s intellectually challenged, prosecutor Scott Murray said.
“You put yourself in this kid’s position, your heart has to go out to him,” said Sgt. John Thomas, who said the boy has been picked on so much that he would do anything to stop it. “It’s gotten so bad that you have to subject your body to being scarred for life, just to be accepted by your peers.”
Blake VanNest, 18, is charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a minor, tattooing without a license, indecent exposure and criminal threatening. Donald Wyman, 20, is charged with criminal liability for the conduct of another and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a minor.
Two others — Ryan Fisk, 19 and Travis Johnston, 18, — are also charged.
Johnson, who said he allowed it take place at his house, told WMUR-TV he wished it never happened.
“Before I got in trouble, I regretted it,” he said.
The family of the boy said they planned to speak out about the growing problem of school bullying in the coming the days.
“This is a very emotional time for our family, as we are still trying to absorb what was done to our child,” the family said through a lawyer.
The boy told police that despite his protests VanNest said he would get a tattoo whether he liked it or not, police said. The boy said he eventually agreed because VanNest told him he would no longer be picked on at school.
The boy told police that when he arrived at the home to get the tattoo he said again that he didn’t want one, but VanNest threatened him.
Wyman drew the tattoo on the boy, and Fisk and VanNest did the tattooing, prosecutors said.
The next day, the boy said students in the school were passing around pictures of the tattoo. A teacher overheard a conversation about it called police.
New Hampshire law prohibits tattooing anyone under the age of 18. Tattoo artists also must be licensed.