New Jersey priest allegedly pointed a functioning musket at a young boy inside the church's rectory and indicated he would fire, an incident that may have been spurred by a football rivalry.
The Rev. Kevin Carter, 54, was free Saturday after posting $15,000 cash bail, a day after Bergen County prosecutors announced he was charged with child endangerment and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm.
Both charges stem from a Sept. 13 incident at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry, authorities said.
Carter asked an 8-year-old boy who had arrived for a service with his family to step into one of the rectory's rooms and stand against a wall, prosecutors said. When the boy did, the priest alleged pointed the unloaded but fully functioning musket at him.
County Prosecutor John Molinelli 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, so it's not clear if the incident was possibly a joke that went bad.
Molinelli said Saturday he doesn't consider pointing a gun at someone a joke, especially not at little kids.
Several people standing outside the room saw the incident take place, according to authorities.
A parishioner reported the incident to the Archdiocese of Newark late last month, and officials there soon notified the prosecutor's office.
It wasn't clear if Carter has retained an attorney. A message left for him at the church on Saturday afternoon was not immediately returned.
A search of the rectory turned up the musket along with gun powder, ammunition and other items related to the firearm, the prosecutor's office said.
Carter has been assigned to St. Margaret's since February of 2013, and oversaw major renovations to the church following Superstorm Sandy. In addition to St. Margaret's, Carter has worked at five other churches in New Jersey since 1987.