US mother found innocent over claims her five-year-old daughter was using sun beds

Wednesday 27 February 2013 16.13
Patricia Krentcil, nicknamed 'tan mom', faced child endangerment charges after her daughter went to school sunburnt
Patricia Krentcil, nicknamed 'tan mom', faced child endangerment charges after her daughter went to school sunburnt

A New Jersey mother, facing charges over child endangerment amid fears her young daughter was using a tanning booth, has won her case.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, nicknamed "tan mom" was arrested in April 2012.

The arrest came after her then five-year-old daughter showed up at school with sunburn and officials accused her of taking the child into a tanning booth.

At the time, the blonde mother's very tanned skin suggested many hours spent under the intense ultraviolet light of a tanning bed or out in the sun.

New Jersey is among several states that have adopted regulations prohibiting anyone aged 14 or under from tanning using ultraviolet devices because of the risk of skin cancer.

A jury considering the case against Ms Krentcil of Nutley, New Jersey, decided not to indict her on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

The Essex County prosecutor said: "The grand jurors voted not to indict Mrs Krentcil... We respect their decision." 

Ms Krentcil's lawyer Natalia Diaz hailed the panel's decision, saying the mother could have faced a prison term of up to ten years had she been convicted of the charge.

Ms Diaz said: "The case was just basically ridiculous, it's almost like a witch hunt."

The child, now six, is fair-skinned, and showed up at school with a sunburn after spending time outside on a sunny day, not in a tanning booth, Ms Diaz said.

Ms Krentcil, who is also "very, very fair skinned," said she frequented tanning booths because she wanted to look "nice and dark," But that is all in the past according to her lawyer.

"She no longer tans like that," Ms Diaz said.