NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey mother accused of causing skin burns to her young daughter by taking her into a tanning booth pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a child endangerment charge, and the tanning salon’s owner appeared to corroborate her story.
Patricia Krentcil faces a second-degree child endangerment charge. Through her attorney, she pleaded not guilty in Newark Municipal Court on Wednesday morning. Krentcil is free on $2,500 cash bond.
Before Wednesday’s court hearing, Krentcil, whose skin is deeply bronze-colored from regular visits to the tanning salon, called the accusation a lie.
“It’s all made up,” she said.
She told The Associated Press her daughter, who was 5 at the time of the alleged incident in mid-April and has since turned 6, got sunburned by being outside on an unseasonably warm day. She said her daughter, however, had mentioned to school officials when she complained of itching that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother.
Krentcil had told various TV stations her daughter was in the room at the salon but not in the stand-up tanning booth.
The owner of City Tropics Salon in Nutley, who only identified himself as Anthony, said employees who were there on the day in question told him the girl remained outside with her father and brother and didn’t go into the tanning booth while Krentcil was inside.
He said a sign is posted in the salon that refers to New Jersey state law barring anyone under 14 from using a tanning salon.
“I would never harm a child,” he said. “I have seven kids of my own. It’s just ridiculous.”
Krentcil’s attorney, John Caruso, said outside court that she will be exonerated, because the evidence will show the child never entered the booth.
“Forget about the presumption of innocence; my client is 150 percent innocent,” Caruso said. “She loves that child more than her whole life. She would never, ever allow her child to go inside a tanning bed.”
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