- Brothers charged with abusing 13-year-olds
- Charges relate to nipple and genital piercing
- Teen schoolgirls making regular visits to tatto parlour
NEW state laws banning body piercing for minors will be explored after two tattooist brothers were charged with abusing two schoolgirls during a piercing session.
The men, from Dandenong’s Tattoo City, were charged over the alleged offences on Friday night, following complaints from the distraught 13-year-old girls.
Gregory Allan Ford, of Oakhill Rd, West Pearcedale, was charged with sexual penetration of a child under 16 and indecent assault at the tattoo and piercing shop.
The 51-year-old is alleged to have caressed the genitals of one of the girls for about 20 minutes before piercing her.
Mark Andrew Ford, 47, also of Oakhill Rd, West Pearcedale, has been charged with indecent assault relating to the nipple piercing of the other girl, during which he is accused of fondling the teen.
It is claimed a bet between the girls had led them to ask for the piercings about three weeks ago.
The aunt of one of the girls said a lot of children at the girls’ school had body piercings done at the shop without their parents’ knowledge.
Several young teenage schoolgirls were seen entering and leaving Tattoo City, in Foster St, this week.
Yesterday, a spokesman for Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said: “There are complex legal issues surrounding genital piercings of minors and we will discuss these with police to determine whether existing tattoo and piercing laws need to be expanded.”
Ms Pike’s office had ruled out bans in January, saying new body piercing education programs were ensuring industry practitioners acted responsibly.
A coalition of industry and community leaders says the case highlights the need for an overhaul of state laws on piercing, including bans on piercing minors and regulation of shops.
Piercing operations have become a potential haven for pedophiles because piercers do not need licences or police checks, they say.
Casey councillor Steve Beardon, who has led a push to ban body piercing of minors, said: “The Government has been grossly negligent on this issue, putting children at risk.”
Gregory Allan Ford was bailed on Friday night to attend Melbourne Magistrates Court tomorrow. Mark Andrew Ford was bailed to appear at Dandenong Magistrates Court on August 1.