Woman accused of having sex at church beneath Virgin Mary statue pleads not guilty
A homeless woman accused of having sex with a man beneath a statue of the Virgin Mary at a Roman Catholic church in New Jersey has pleaded not guilty to lewdness and other charges.
Noelle Smart entered the pleas Tuesday in Seaside Heights Municipal Court.
Authorities say the 48-year-old Smart and 43-year-old Anthony Getchius were found May 22 in "a sacred area" on the grounds of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is next door to police headquarters.
Smart told the Asbury Park Press she and Getchius were homeless and staying behind the church. She says "the act of lewdness wasn't happening."
A public defender was appointed Tuesday to represent Smart.
Getchius was charged with lewdness, disrobing in public and other offenses. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.