By Thomas Zambito
(Reuters) - A New Jersey mom with a passion for tanning is facing a child endangerment charge for allowing her then 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.
Authorities say Patricia Krentcil's daughter, now 6, turned up at her elementary school in Nutley, New Jersey, with a sunburn on April 24, prompting a school nurse to contact police.
The extremely tan Krentcil, 44, appeared on Wednesday in a Newark courtroom where she pleaded not guilty to a charge of child endangerment.
New Jersey is among several states that have adopted regulations prohibiting anyone age 14 or under from using ultraviolet devices because of the risk of skin cancer.
Krentcil's chocolate-brown hue testifies to countless hours spent under the intense ultraviolet light of a tanning bed or out in the sun soaking up rays.
But she denied bringing her fair-skinned daughter into the tanning booth of a salon that she frequents.
"I would not permit it," she told CBS TV in New York.
The owner of City Tropics Tanning said his staff did not see Krentcil get into the stand-up booth with her daughter when she came in for an April 22 tanning session.
"Of course not," said the owner, who would only give his first name of Anthony.
"My workers wouldn't let a child go into a tanning room. She was outside with her father," he said. "If she went into the tanning room I think she would have disintegrated. She's a little girl."
The owner said police never came in to speak with his workers about the incident.
Nutley police referred questions about the case to the Essex County prosecutor's office, where spokeswoman Katherine Carter said the investigation was continuing.
Krentcil did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Xavier Briand)