NUTLEY, N.J. - A New Jersey mother says she did not bring her young child into a tanning booth.
In court Tuesday, Patricia Krentcil pleaded not guilty to a child endangerment charge.
At issue -- was the girl burned in a tanning bed or more naturally while playing on a hot spring day in her ard?
Krentcil admits she, herself, excessively tans. She's been hitting the tanning beds for at least a decade.
The question is, did she subject her 5-year-old daughter, Anna, to the UV rays that have turned her own skin a dark bronze tone.
Krentcil says no.
After posting her bond, Krentcil was free to leave the courtroom. Just outside, her attorney, John Caruso, spoke to the media, addressing the allegations that arose after Krentcil's daughter went to school last month with a sunburn and said she'd been tanning with mommy.
"Forget about the presumption of innocence," said Caruso. "My client is 150 percent innocent. That child was never in a tanning booth. (Krentcil) loves her child more than her own life and would never allow her child to go inside a tanning bed."
The owner of the tanning salon backs that up, claiming his employees said the day the little girl came she waited with her dad and little brother while Krentcil spent about 12 minutes in the booth.
The owner says if Anna had gone in, with her fair skin, she would have been badly burned.
Krentcil says her daughter suffered a sunburn that same day in April while playing outside.
"She's my little girl," said Krentcil. "I'm not going to bring my little daughter into a 90-degree bed. I mean, that's not normal."
In the state of New Jersey, anyone under the age of 14 is prohibited from using tanning salons.
Krentcil's next court appearance is June 4.
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