Grand Jury Declines to Indict Tan Mom

Patricia Krentcil was accused of bringing her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth

A grand jury has chosen not to indict the deeply tanned New Jersey mother who faced child endangerment charges last year for allegedly bringing her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, said she felt vindicated by their decision but remained angry by the public attention. 

"What this world did in this past year was make a mockery of me, and I don't appreciate that," Krentcil told reporters in front of her home Tuesday.

The Nutley, N.J. mother was arrested in April 2012 after staff members at her daughter's school noticed burn marks on the girl's legs and overheard her telling classmates she "went tanning with Mommy."

Krentcil said her daughter's burn came from the sun on an unusually warm day and that she would never take the girl into a tanning booth.

Krentcil, who is bronzed-colored from frequent tanning, had pleaded not guilty. Though she said she was innocent of the charge, she admitted to excessive tanning herself.

She claimed Tuesday that many pictures of her in the media were manipulated to make her look more tan than she was, saying they were "painted."

Krentcil told NBC 4 New York last year she treated her tanning salon trips as an errand in which she brings along her daughter, but insisted the booth lights were never exposed to the girl.

"It's like taking your daughter to go food shopping," she said. "There's tons of moms that bring their children in."

"I tan, she doesn't tan," she continued. "I'm in the booth, she's in the room. That's all there is to it."

It's against New Jersey law for anyone under 14 to use a tanning booth. 

Assistant prosecutor Gina Iosim, who presented the case to the grand jury, said her office respected the grand jury's decision.

Krentcil has been free on $25,000 bail since her arrest, and her daughter remained in her and her husband's custody as the grand jury heard the case.

Krentcil told a magazine last August she planned to tan less zealously, and while she appeared paler Tuesday, she admitted she was still visiting the tanning salon. 

"I like to tan, and I don't think that's a crime," she said. "I'm still going to tan and I don't care what anyone has to say."

Krenctil's husband said the family has had to spend money on lawyers while fighting the case and that he's lost his job as a result of the media attention. 

Rich Krentcil said he's "hoping it all goes away," but his wife said she's pursuing several opportunities. 

"I'm going to probably go to London and get a flat, because I have a lot of modeling jobs," she said. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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