Grand jury decides no charges against New Jersey's "Tan Mom"

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 26, 2013 8:47 PM

By Dave Warner

(Reuters) - The case of the deeply bronzed New Jersey woman known as "Tan Mom" appears destined to fade away. A grand jury declined to indict her on child endangerment charges, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Patricia Krentcil was arrested in April 2012 after her then 5-year-old daughter showed up at school with a sunburn and officials accused her of taking the child into a tanning booth.

At the time, the blonde mother's chocolate-brown hue testified to many hours spent under the intense ultraviolet light of a tanning bed or out in the sun soaking up rays.

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

A grand jury considering the case against Krentcil, 44, of Nutley, New Jersey, decided not to indict her on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, the Essex County prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

"We presented all the available evidence in the case to the grand jury," said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Gina Iosim.

"The grand jurors voted not to indict Mrs. Krentcil. ... We respect their decision," Iosim said.

Krentcil's attorney Natalia Diaz hailed the panel's decision, noting that the mother of could have faced a prison term of up to 10 years had she been convicted of the charge.

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

The child, now 6, is fair-skinned and showed up at school with a sunburn after spending time outside on a sunny day, not in a tanning booth, Diaz said.

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

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

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg)