March 19, 2014

A 34-year-old Coon Rapids man who allegedly tattooed a 16-year-old girl's wrist in January faces a criminal charge for tattooing a minor without a license, according to a criminal complaint filed last week.

Ryan Patrick McAlister denied the allegation last month in an interview with the Daily Times Herald.

Investigators accuse McAlister of tattooing the word "love" on the girl's wrist at the kitchen table of his house in violation of three state laws: tattoo artists are required to obtain an annual license from the Iowa Department of Public Health; they cannot do the work in a residence, with some exceptions; and they cannot tattoo people who are younger than 18, even if the child has permission from a parent or legal guardian.

McAlister faces up to one year in jail and a fine if he is convicted.

McAlister was licensed to do the work in 2006 and 2007 and - even though he said he has not tattooed anyone since his license lapsed - he kept the needles, ink and other equipment because of their value, which he estimated is about $5,000.

Coon Rapids Police officers confiscated the equipment when they searched his house with a warrant in February.

The girl's grandparent reported the alleged crime and supplied officers with Facebook photos that purportedly show McAlister tattooing the girl. The girl, who lives in Jefferson, alleged in a written statement to police that her grandmother gave permission for the tattoo, her mother drove her to McAlister's house and that she paid $35 for the work.

McAlister said he does not know the girl, who is identified by name in the court documents. The Times Herald is withholding her identity because she is a minor and the alleged victim of a crime.

A judge ordered McAlister to appear in court to answer the criminal charge on April 1, court documents show.