Dozens of people rallied to the side of the Rev. Kevin Carter Tuesday as he pleaded not guilty to charges after allegedly pointing a musket at an 8-year-old boy, NorthJersey.com reports.

Among them were several police officers from the Port Authority and the Jersey City departments he'd served as chaplain, according to the report.

"I can’t believe that he had any evil intent whatsoever,” the report quotes a high-ranking police officer from Jersey City saying. "I don’t believe that he actually pointed the weapon at the kid. I believe somebody misunderstood what they saw."

Retired Port Authority officer Robert Sbarra told the site Carter had helped his department get through the loss of 37 officers in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Carter told New Jersey 101.5's Steve Trevelise Monday, while presiding over the funeral for a family member, that he'd only been joking during the incident at St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Little Ferry — having good-natured fun between fans of rival sports teams. But Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli has said he doesn't consider pointing a gun at someone to be a joke.

 

Carter has said the the woman who reported the incident to police "misinterpreted" the incident — and his lawyer has provided a statement from a witness defending the priest. Carter, 54, said it its well known within the church he is a Giants fan and there were a number of people who witnessed the exchange with boy, who is a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Molinelli has previously said a statement said Carter asked the boy to come into a rectory room at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13 as they arrived for a service. Witnesses later told police Carter had the boy stand against the wall, pointed a Civil War-era musket at the boy and threatened to shoot him, the prosecutor said.

Carter said in another statement he is concerned for the trauma that attention to the case could cause for the boy. He wrote that "nothing that day put fear in him."

 

"I am also concerned about the parishioner who misinterpreted the event of September 13," he wrote. "As her pastor, I do not want her to suffer any harm and I asked all members of the parish to be loving to her and to share my concern for her."

Carter's attorney has also provided a statement by Author Richard Fritzky of Stanhope, saying he was in the rectory with Carter admiring the musket, as they are both Civil War buffs, when the boy came by the rectory before Mass.

Fritzky said he did not see the boy until after the incident, but he could see Carter down a hallway: "It was all loud and good humored fun and nothing but, as everyone involved including the boy was clearly laughing." Fritzky said he never saw Carter raise the rifle.

See Bill Spadea's take on the incident below:

<em>The Associated Press and Dan Alexander contributed to th