Tattoo artist charged with misdemeanor
The man some South Tahoe High School students call “Tattoo Bobby” was charged with six counts of tattooing minors by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office Wednesday.
The crime is a misdemeanor, but each count carries a possible sentence of six months.
Robert Iida, 40, has a lengthy criminal history and spent 90 days in the El Dorado County jail in 1995 after pleading guilty to carrying false identification and failing to appear. He has also been convicted of robbery in Orange County, Calif., and drug possession, assault and first-degree burglary in Riverside, Calif.
“I view this as very serious conduct because children are being victimized,” Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said.
As many as eight students may have been given illegal “street tattoos” and school officials fear they may have been exposed to diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Iida would often go to parties and tattoo people, according to two STHS students who asked to remain anonymous.
According to Public Health Nurse Allyson Tabor, repeat use of needles is a major concern.
“If minors were given tattoos by (Iida), there is no way of knowing if the needles were already used,” she said. “Since it was a street tattooist, he probably doesn’t sterilize his needles.”
Uthe is not sure if Iida can be charged with exposing the children to the diseases but said, “if anything, it makes these charges more serious.”
Iida was arrested for violating his parole after police began investigating his involvement with several South Shore teen-agers. He is being held by the California Department of Corrections. His arraignment will be delayed until he can be transported to South Lake Tahoe.
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