By Robin Rieger
NEWARK, NJ (CBS) — Forty-four-year-old Patricia Krentcil’s unnaturally tanned skin stood out against her blond hair and light tan jacket when she appeared in court in Newark, NJ on Wednesday to plead not guilty to child endangerment charges.
Prosecutors contend she took her young daughter, Anna, into a tanning booth with her, resulting in the child’s sunburn (see related story).
“I’m innocent,” Krentcil told reporters after her courtroom appearance.
“We’re confident that when all the facts are heard in this case, she’ll be vindicated. My client is innocent–that child was never in that tanning booth,” added her attorney, John Caruso.
Krentcil, of Nutley in Essex County, was arrested after her daughter complained at school of sunburn and reportedly said she went “tanning with mommy.”
“I’m in the booth, she’s outside playing princess trying to be like mommy….She does not get in the booth whatsoever,” said Krentcil.
This isn’t the first time Krentcil has faced charges. According to court records, she had a 1996 DUI conviction in Illinois and a 1997 assault conviction for biting a cabdriver. Court records from 2000 show she was convicted of theft and forgery in Camden County, and in 2004, records indicate she violated probation in that case.
That violation landed Krentcil in the Camden County jail on April 26th, according to records. She was released on April 30th after the probation was dismissed, and she arranged to pay off the balance of restitution in the 2000 case.
“You’re chocolatey, Mama,” said Anna, pointing to her mother’s darkly tanned face.
Krentcil’s daughter has not been removed from her care, but DYFS is now monitoring the family.
“Forget about the presumption of innocence, my client is 150-percent innocent,” said Caruso.