Mom denies child used tan booth

Patricia Krentcil, 44, waits to be arraigned Wednesday at the Essex County Superior Court in Newark, N.J., where she appeared on charges of endangering her 5-year-old child by taking her into a tanning salon. Krentcil tells The Associated Press her daughter got her sunburn from being outside on a recent warm day. New Jersey state law prohibits anyone younger than 14 from using tanning salons.

NEWARK, N.J. — 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.

Before the hearing, Krentcil, whose skin is deeply bronze-colored from regular visits to the tanning salon, said of the accusation, “It’s all made up.”

She said her daughter, who was 5 at the time of the alleged incident in mid-April and has since turned 6, became 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 has told 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 the evidence will show that the child never entered the booth.