Priest accused of pointing gun at boy: It was a ‘good-natured exchange’
Kevin Carter, the North Jersey priest charged with pointing a musket at an 8-year-old boy, says he's most concerned about the well being of the boy and the woman who reported the incident.
Carter says the woman "misinterpreted" the incident — and his lawyer has provided a statement from a witness defending the priest.
"I wrote shocked and stunned at these charges," wrote "Father Kevin" of the St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry in a statement released by his lawyer. "They are without merit. I am confident that I will be vindicated and that my reputation will not be harmed among the people who know me. I will be OK."
Carter, 54, says it its well known within the church he is a Giants fan and there were a number of people who witnessed the "good-natured exchange" with boy, who is a Dallas Cowboys fan.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli in 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."
NorthJersey.com reports that one churchgoer called the woman a "Judas" after a Mass on Sunday in which Carter told the congregation he is innocent.
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.
Carter was taking the musket back upstairs when "the boy and his parents or parent, I assume, came walking through the long hallway or entrance to the rectory from the church," Fritsky wrote. According to his account, he Fritzky was sitting at a table in a room at the end of a hallway at this point, and could see Carter — though not the boy.
"(Carter) feigned being struck and hurt that anyone would dare come into his home with Cowboys colors on and he loudly and good naturedly teased the boy, who had quite apparently come to do the same to Father Kevin. It was all loud and good humored fun and nothing but, as everyone involved including the boy was clearly laughing."
Fritsky wrote he "neither saw Father Kevin raise the rifle nor threaten anyone." Fritzky also wrote and that the incident was referenced during the Mass by Carter, to a laugh from the congregation. After the service, Fritzky said, Carter continued to "pleasantly" tease the boy about the Cowboys.
"I did not personally see the young Cowboys fan in question, until after the Mass ... outside the church," Fritsky wrote. "He was, at that time, smiling at Father Kevin who affectionately smiled in return, while still pleasantly teasing him about the Cowboys, as any Giants fan in the world would have done."
Carter will be arraigned today, on charges of one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault by pointing a firearm and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. He is free on $15,000 bail.