Tahlequah Daily Press

February 27, 2013

Gritts gets three years for children’s tattoos

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man accused of giving his underage nephews permanent tattoos last year will spend three years in prison.

Rocky Wayne Gritts, 23, was initially charged with two counts of child abuse by injury, but charges were reduced to child endangerment this week.

Gritts pleaded guilty to the reduced charges and was given a four-year sentence on each count, with three to be served in the Department of Corrections and the fourth year of each charge suspended.

Gritts will serve his prison sentences concurrently, but the suspended sentences will run consecutively, meaning he’ll be on supervised probation for two years once he is released from prison.

He was also given credit for time already served in jail.

Authorities arrested Gritts in October when he was accused of giving his 10- and 5-year-old relatives permanent tattoos while the boys were staying at a home in Briggs.

The allegations came to light when school-resource officers at Tahlequah approached investigators about the children’s marks. Court documents show the officers believe the marks were gang-related.

Police said Gritts fled when they arrived to question him Oct. 26, but he was later arrested.