Police: Two teens who got illegal tattoos have MRSA infections

Police: Two teens who got illegal tattoos have MRSA infections
Photo of a tattoo given by Stephen Matt Lister. Photo courtesy of Newberg High School

NEWBERG, Ore. - Newberg police are asking parents of students who got tattoos recently to get their children checked by a doctor after two teens were diagnosed with MRSA infections.

Police said they think there may be more cases of infection that have not yet been reported. In both cases, the students got tattoos from an unlicensed tattoo artist.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "MRSA is a “staph” germ that does not get better with the first-line antibiotics that usually cure staph infections. When this occurs, the germ is resistant to the antibiotic.

Stephen Matt Lister, 18, was arrested after police started investigating him in late September following a complaint from the school's nurse to the Newberg High School Resource Officer, who is a member of the Newberg Police Department.

The nurse told police she had learned that a student at the school was giving other students tattoos.

Newberg police said at least two students have been treated for MRSA infections after receiving tattoos from Lister.

Police said they also learned Lister was having sexual relationships with young girls who attended the school.

Lister faces numerous charges, including 10 counts of performing services in a field of practice without a license, three counts of third-degree sex abuse, two counts of third-degree sodomy and three counts of third-degree rape.

The Oregon Health Division verified that Lister does not have a license to give tattoos, according to police.

Police said over 20 photos on Lister's phone show he may have given many other people tattoos and they are concerned he did not use correct sanitation when giving the tattoos, which can lead to infections or disease.

Police are asking anyone who has received a tattoo from Lister to contact a doctor, the school resource officer or call detectives at 503-538-8321.