LITTLE FERRY, N.J. -- Accompanied by dozens of supporters -- including several law enforcement officers -- a Litte Ferry priest was brought before a judge in Hackensack on Tuesday stemming from an incident in which authorities said he pointed a Civil War-era musket at a boy.
Presiding Central Municipal Judge Louis J. Dinice entered a plea of “not guilty” for the Rev. Kevin Carter to aggravated assault and child endangerment charges.
Defense attorney Harold Cassidy acknowledged that he'd advised Carter of St. Margaret of Cortona R.C. Church of his rights and the proceeding was over.
During a news conference outside, Carter issued a brief statement without answering questions.
He said he was concerned for both the boy and a parishioner who he said "misunderstood” an innocent act of horseplay between the priest, who is a New York Giants fan, and the boy, who wore a Dallas Cowboys jersey to Sunday Mass that September morning, hours before both teams played their NFL season openers.
“My reputation won’t be harmed -- I’m going to be okay,” Carter said. “I’m concerned that the media coverage could put this boy, who came to the rectory with his family for some good-natured fun, into trauma.
“I am also concerned for my parishioner, and ask that my parish treat her lovingly,” he said of the woman that another congregant reportedly called a "Judas."
Carter and his lawyer both said nothing happened that caused the boy any fear. He wasn't put against a wall as authorities said, they insisted.
They acknowledged that the priest pointed the weapon -- but not in a threatening manner.
The musket “technically” can be fired, Cassidy said, but it wasn't loaded and is more of a "curiosity."
The attorney said he thought the charges were brought in good faith and will ultimately be dismissed, but “probably should never have been filed.”
Carter thanked a contingent of 50 or so supporters who he said included congregants from several parishes, as well as law enforcement officers mainly from Jersey City and the Port Authority.
Carter was a chaplain for the Jersey City Police Department and other police agencies, and said he attended at least six line-of-duty services for the JCPD -- for whom his father served for 40 years.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.