LITTLE FERRY, N.J. -- A Little Ferry priest accused of pointing a replica Civil War rifle at an 8-year-old boy said the incident was a humorous moment that occurred because the youngster wore a Dallas Cowboys jersey to Mass, hours before the priest's beloved Giants were to play them.
The Rev. Kevin Carter was applauded by the congregation at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church after he read a statement proclaiming his innocence at the beginning of services on Sunday.
Supporting Carter was Richard Fritzky, an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and former Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce president, who said he was there and didn't see Carter, 54, point the musket at anyone.
Fritzky, emphasizing that he wasn't interviewed by detectives, said the priest "feigned bieng struck and hurt that anyone would dare come into his home with Cowboys colors on."
He said the boy teased him back in "good humored" fun and called the allegation against Carter "a falacious charge."
Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said there were other witnesses present. One of them contacted the Newark Archdiocese, prompting an investigation by the prosecutor's office, he said.
Witnesses told detectives that Carter asked to see the boy in one of the rectory rooms after he and his family came to the church for Mass on Sunday, Sept. 13, Molinelli said.
Carter then "had the victim stand against a wall," after which he "then retrieved a long gun from nearby and pointed it at the child with an indication that he would shoot him," the prosecutor said.
Carter -- who previously served at churches Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Oakland and Wyckoff -- was charged with aggravated assault and child endangerment. He was released after posting $15,000 bail.
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