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New Jersey mother arrested for allowing toddler into tanning booth (+video)

Patricia Krencil, a New Jersey mother, was arrested for allegedly allowing her toddler into a tanning booth, in violation of state laws, said it was all one big misunderstanding. But school officials blew the whistle after observing burns on the young girl's skin.

New Jersey mother Patricia Krencil says her daughter was outside on a sunny day.
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The case of a mother being charged with illegally taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth raises again the issue of extreme body image pressure being imposed on younger and younger girls.

Patricia Krencil whose own skin is a deeply bronze-colored from regular visits to a tanning salon is accused of taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth in violation of state law, in the process burning the girl's skin.

Through her attorney, Ms. Krentcil 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, Ms. Krentcil called the accusation a lie.

"It's all made up," she said.

She told The Associated Press her daughter got sunburned by being outside on a recent 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.

Her attorney, John Caruso, said outside court 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," Mr. Caruso said. "She loves that child more than her whole life. She would never, ever allow her child to go inside a tanning bed."

The child is still living at home with her mother, Caruso told Municipal Court Judge Roslyn Holmes-Grant, though he said the state's child welfare agency is monitoring the family.

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