Woman accused of having sex at church pleads not guilty

Posted: Updated:
Couple caught having sex on church grounds. Couple caught having sex on church grounds.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS -

(AP) - 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 related charges.

Noelle Smart entered her pleas Tuesday during a municipal court hearing in Seaside Heights.

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. They allegedly were in a secluded garden between the rectory and the church, 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. It's not known if Getchius has retained an attorney.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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