Husband defends wife accused of providing illegal piercings - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Husband defends wife accused of providing illegal piercings

Regina Clanton (Source: Southaven Police Department) Regina Clanton (Source: Southaven Police Department)
Gary Clanton (Source: Southaven Police Department) Gary Clanton (Source: Southaven Police Department)

(WMC-TV) - The husband of a woman arrested for giving illegal piercings to students near a Southaven high school defended her actions and explained why it happened.

Friday, police announced the arrests of Regina Clanton, 34, and her husband, Gary Clanton, 42.

According to investigators, police were alerted to the illegal piercing operation after the mother of a 15-year-old Southaven High School student complained.  The student allegedly received a piercing from Regina Clanton, and then posted a picture online.

"I know a lot of people don't think this is a big deal, what they don't understand is the seriousness of an infection," said Lt. Mark Little with Southaven Police.

There is no indication the 15-year-old's piercing got infected.

"It was a friend of my daughter's," said Gary Clanton.  "We were under the assumption that she was 18.  No, we didn't check her ID, because she was a friend of the family."

When she called police, the student's mother complained she had heard of other underage children receiving piercings and tattoos from the Clantons.

Thursday, police executed a search warrant at the Clantons' home in the 8200 block of Pinebrook, arresting Regina Clanton on outstanding warrants of illegal body piercing and simple assault.

Gary Clanton was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

"They found a two-year-old marijuana pipe, had dust bunnies on it," said Gary Clanton.

It is not only illegal to do a piercing or tattoo on someone under 18 without a parent's permission, but it has to be done at a licensed business.

Gary Clanton was charged last year with doing an illegal tattoo at his home.

"I didn't know I was breaking the law," he said.

After that, Clanton said he got a tattoo apprentice license in Tennessee and for the past year has been working at a tattoo shop in Memphis.  He got word Friday he was fired because of the piercing incident at his house.

"I'm not a bad guy, and I have children of my own," said Gary Clanton.  "I love children."

Police are asking any other parents who believe their child received a tattoo or piercing from the Clantons to call DeSoto County Crime Stoppers at 662-429-8477.

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