A New Jersey mother was arrested for child endangerment after she took her pale five-year-old daughter to a tanning salon, where the child received severe burns all over her body, authorities say.
Through her attorney, Patricia Krentcil, 44, of Nutley, New Jersey, entered a plea of not guilty Wednesday in Superior Court to a charge of child endangerment. New Jersey law bars anyone under 14 from using a tanning salon.
Prior to the hearing, Krentcil called the accusation a lie.
'It's all made up,' she said.
In court: Patricia Krentcil appeared at her arraignment on Wednesday because she was charged with child endangerment for allegedly taking her 5-year-old daughter tanning
Mother and daughter: The difference in hue of Krentcil (left) and Anna (right) is blatantly obvious
Fighting for her case: Krentcil (left) says that it was all a misunderstanding and that she did not take her daughter in the booth but only in the room while she herself was tanning
The incident began when Krentcil's dair-skinned, red-haired daughter's kindergarten teacher called authorities after she noticed the painful burns when the girl when to school.
But Krentcil told The Today Show this morning. 'This whole thing has been blown out of proportion.
'I'm not going to bring my little daughter into a 90 degree bed, I mean, that's not normal.'
Krentcil said that while she did take her daughter Anna to the tanning salon, the little girl never got in the booth and was only there waiting for her mother to finish her session.
She argues that Anna got her sunburn from playing in the yard and not breaking the law. Doctors say tanning booths, which emit UV radiation, are known carcinogens.
Krentcil's daughter apparently received enough of the radiation to burn her skin and leave her with painful damage, police say.
Her attorney, John Caruso, disagrees, as he said that Krentcil 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.'
Krentcil said she loves tanning and has visited salons for many years but would not do anything to jeopardize her daughter's health.
'Never in my life would I endanger my child by putting her in a tanning booth. I'm not dumb,' she said before her scheduled hearing. Outside court, she called herself 'a wonderful mother.'
The Bergen County Record reports that employees the tanning salon in Nutley, New Jersey, didn't realize Krentcil had brought her daughter into the stand-up tanning booth.
State law prohibits children under 14 from using tanning booths. Anyone under 18 must have parental permission.
The incident was reported when a teacher at Anna's school overheard Anna telling a friend that she went to the tanning salon with her mom, and then the teacher pieced that together with Anna's noticeable sunburn.
'I tan, she doesn't tan,' Krentcil said, stating the obvious.
With her skin reminiscent of the outlandish character Magda from the 1998 comedy There's Something About Mary, it is very clear that Krentcil has been to more than one tanning session in her time.
Trip to the salon: Krentcil argues the girl was in the room but not in the actual booth
Even given the timing of her mugshot- taken on April 24- and her Today Show interview- which aired on May 2- the difference in her skin tone makes it clear that her legal scuffle didn't stop her from making a stop at the tanning salon in the meantime.
Krentcil says her daughter did not break any laws by going in the room with her but not in the actual tanning booth.
'It's called a tanning booth and a tanning room.'
The legal situation has taken a toll on both Krentcil and Anna.
'Its traumatizing for a little girl who did nothing wrong but got a little sunburn,' Krentcil told Today.
Tan: Patricia Krentcil, 44, allegedly took her daughter tanning but says that it was a misunderstanding
Police arrested Krentcil April 24. She took the child to the tanning salon the week before, authorities say.
The charge was upgraded to a felony Monday, and Krentcil was released after posting $25,000 bail.
A family told WABC-TV that Krentcil was 'shaken' by her arrest.
Dr Stephanie Badalamenti, a dermatologist, told the station tanning booths can increase the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, by 75 percent.
'This can be very dangerous,' she said. 'This can be a life-changer.'
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