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Accused Brainerd tattoo artist faces new charges for threats

A tattoo artist accused of criminal sexual conduct with a woman while she received a tattoo now faces three felonies after he allegedly threatened someone expected to testify against him.

David Stephen Charpentier
David Stephen Charpentier

A tattoo artist accused of criminal sexual conduct with a woman while she received a tattoo now faces three felonies after he allegedly threatened someone expected to testify against him.

David Stephen Charpentier, 36, of Pequot Lakes, was booked in the Crow Wing County Jail March 8. He appeared March 9 in Crow Wing County District Court, charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree tampering with a witness and an additional count of first-degree tampering with a witness-all felonies.

According to a criminal complaint filed against Charpentier, he wrote threatening notes directed toward a former tattoo client. That client was part of the investigation into Charpentier's alleged criminal sexual conduct in November 2016, after Charpentier apparently sent her and others sexually suggestive messages through Facebook using a pseudonym.

Charpentier was summoned to appear in court in February 2017, accused of placing his exposed private part on a client's naked buttocks while giving her a tattoo at the business he owns, 6th Street Tattoo, 215 S. Sixth St., Brainerd.

Stalking charges associated with the Facebook messaging were later dropped, although in that case, Charpentier continues to face a gross misdemeanor for fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two other misdemeanors-disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. He was scheduled for a settlement conference March 26.

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In the meantime, however, Charpentier's list of pending charges grew to include three felonies. On Feb. 19, the witness found a handwritten note in her mailbox that read, "Shut you (sic) mouth about the shop and don't come to hereings (sic) or you'll be sorry."

The witness contacted law enforcement and turned over the note. Ten days later, she found another note inside her mailbox: "shouldve (sic) shut up youre (sic) going to die (expletive)." Once again, she turned the note over to law enforcement, which showed a similar handwriting style to the first note, according to the report.

Following the second note, the Brainerd Police Department obtained a warrant to place a GPS tracker on Charpentier's vehicle, set to warn officers if it traveled within two blocks of the witness' home. Six days later on March 7, the device provided warning of Charpentier's location. After the vehicle left the area, an investigator called the witness and asked her to check for another note. The witness found another note stuck to the outside of her door that read: "(Expletive) lined up in ditches, ruin my life youres (sic) end."

The witness told police she was fearful for her life after receiving the notes. A subsequent search of Charpentier's tattoo shop revealed paper of similar shape and style to that found on the outside of the witness' door, according to the complaint.

The two felonies for aggravated first-degree witness tampering carry a possible penalty of not more than 20 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both. The third felony could result in five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

According to business records maintained by the Minnesota Secretary of State, 6th Street Tattoo LLC remains in active/good standing. A list of licensed body art establishments maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health, last updated February 2018, shows the business' body art license expires September 2019. No disciplinary actions are listed against Charpentier or the business.

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