updated 10/25/2007 6:46:16 PM ET 2007-10-25T22:46:16

A 39-year-old woman forcefully had her 13-year-old daughter’s genitalia pierced to make it uncomfortable for her to have sex, the girl told jurors in her mother’s child abuse trial.

The girl, now 16, told jurors Wednesday that her mother asked a tattoo artist friend in 2004 to shave the girl’s head to make her unattractive to boys and later held her down for the piercing.

“She was trying to protect me, but it hurt me,” the girl testified. “It not only hurt me physically, but it hurt me mentally. ... That’s emotionally scarring. That’s physical abuse.”

Prosecutor Steve Maresca said the mother called on a friend to shave the girl’s head and do the piercing after realizing that she had been having sex, including with the mother’s boyfriend.

Defense attorney Donald Day told jurors that the mother had trouble with her rebellious daughter and that the girl agreed to the piercing to help rebuild her mother’s trust.

“It wasn’t torture or extreme violence,” Day said. “It was, in the young girl’s words, to try to save her. ... That decision was a last-ditch effort. In my client’s mind, she had no other options.”

Child welfare officials were called after the girl became infected from the piercing.

The mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter’s identity, is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Tammy Meredith, 43, who did the piercing in her home, was sentenced to a year in jail for her role. An arrest warrant has been issued for the mother’s boyfriend on allegations he had sex with the girl.

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