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Attorney: N.J. Priest Accused Of Pointing Gun At Boy Was Misunderstood

LITTLE FERRY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A New Jersey priest was planning to plead not guilty Tuesday, after allegedly pointing a musket at a young boy inside the rectory of a church in Little Ferry.

As WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron reported, the Rev. Kevin Carter has been charged with child endangerment and aggravated assault.

According to authorities, the incident happened on Sept. 13 at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry. Witnesses said it happened just before mass.

Carter, 54, was accused of asking the 8-year-old boy who had just arrived for service with his family to step into one of the rectory's rooms and stand against a wall, according the Bergen County Prosecutor's office.

When the boy did, the priest alleged pointed the unloaded but fully functioning musket at him, prosecutors said.

Carter's attorney, Harold Cassidy, came to his client's defense Monday.

"This is a good man who has devoted his life to the service of others," Cassidy said.

Cassidy said he is confident that Carter's name will be cleared. He said Carter is a Civil War buff, and was just showing the musket to a parishioner when the boy and his family walked into the rectory before mass.

County Prosecutor John Molinelli had said Carter, a New York Giants fan, and the boy, who roots for the Dallas Cowboys, were talking about football shortly before the incident occurred. The two NFL teams were scheduled to play that night.

Cassidy said the banter about the name had been good-natured, and the weapon happened to be raised at one point.

"Everyone's laughing, the child was laughing. It was in good fun and they all went out to mass," Cassidy said.

Cassidy said a fellow parishioner misinterpreted the events and filed a complaint.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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