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NJ grand jury won't indict tanning mom Patricia Krentcil

Patricia Krentcil attends
Patricia Krentcil attendsCharles Norfleet/Getty Images

The New Jersey woman whose deeply bronzed complexion made her a national punchline after she was charged with putting her 5-year-old daughter in a tanning bed has been cleared of criminal charges.

A grand jury refused to indict Patricia Krentcil on a child-endangerment charge for allegedly violating a state law that bans children from using tanning salons, NBC New York reported Tuesday.

Krentcil, of Nutley, N.J., was arrested after her daughter appeared in school with burns on her legs last April. Her mother said they were from swimming outside and that she never put the child in a tanning bed.

After she was first arrested, Krentcil told NBC New York that 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 the law in New Jersey for any child under 14-year-old to use an artificial tanning booth.

“We presented all the available evidence in the case to the grand jury, both the state’s evidence and the defense’s evidence,” said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Gina Iosim. “The grand jurors voted not to indict Mrs. Krentcil. We respect their decision."

Krentcil, 44, has admitted she went overboard with the ultraviolet rays that gave her a skin tone some likened to a roasted nut and made her the target of standup comics and late-night monologues.

She even took up a magazine's offer to stay away from the salons for a month and emerged looking much healthier, but complaining she felt "weird and pale."

More recently, she told the New York Daily News she was contemplating a move to overcast London, but denied it was because she had been banned by local tanning salons who considered her bad for business.