In what can be best described as a bizarre incident, a New Jersey priest has been arrested after he allegedly pointed a gun at an 8-year-old boy. The priest, identified as Father Kevin Carter, was reportedly angry at the boy for supporting a rival football team and thought it was a good idea to point a firearm at the child to intimidate him. According to the New York Daily News, Father Kevin Carter happens to be a huge New York Giants fan and was not particularly happy with the boy who had pledged his allegiance to arch rivals — the Dallas Cowboys.
According to an ABC 7 News report, the 54-year-old Father Kevin Carter has been arrested and was later charged with “endangering the welfare of a child” and “aggravated assault by pointing a firearm.” The report added that the incident happened on September 8 at the St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry, New Jersey. The incident was reported to the Newark Archdiocese by a parishioner on September 25.
On September 13, the 8-year-old boy and several other family members visited the church for Sunday services just hours before the Giants vs. Cowboys first game of the season was to begin. Upon seeing the boy there, Father Carter asked the boy to meet him in one of the rectory rooms. Once inside the room Father Carter managed to retrieve a gun — a civil war-styled musket — and made the boy stand against a wall. He also pointed the gun at the boy in a threatening manner and indicated that he would pull the trigger.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli described what happened after that.
“As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you. The young boy was apparently a fan of a particular football team, the priest was not. So perhaps we have indication it started out as that.”
According to ABC News, several people were standing just outside the room and were able to clearly see and hear what was happening inside. One of the parishioners then contacted officials from the Newark Archdiocese who, in turn, contacted the Bergen County prosecutor’s office on September 28.
Father Carter was eventually arrested by officials from the Little Ferry Police Department on Friday and is currently being held on a $15,000 bail. He was reportedly interviewed by officials at the church before the arrest was made. They also searched Father Carter’s room and were able to recover the weapon that was used to intimidate the boy. Officials described the weapon as a “functioning civil war style musket.” They also managed to recover gunpowder and ammunition along with several other accessories that could be potentially used with the gun.
A press release by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office reads as follows.
“Kevin Carter was charged with one (1) count of 4th degree Aggravated Assault by Pointing a Firearm and one (1) count of 3rd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Bail for Father Carter was set by the Honorable John J. Langan, J.S.C., at $15,000.00 with ten percent option, no contact with the victim and the surrender of all firearms as a condition of bail. Father Carter remains in custody at Little Ferry Police Headquarters at this time.”
Prosecutor John Molinelli described the incident as a serious offense.
“There’s no such thing as joking around with a weapon when you’re dealing with an 8-year-old kid”.
There has not been an official response from the Archdiocese of Newark following the reports of this incident. Notably, the reports of the incident come just days after the first official visit of Pope Francis to the United States.
Meanwhile, officials have confirmed that Father Kevin Carter has been at St. Margaret of Cortona since February, 2013. He was ordained in Newark back in November, 1986, and interestingly also serves as the Little Falls Police Chaplain and has, in the past, acted as the police chaplain for the Jersey City Police Department.
[Images Via North Jersey, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Malacañang Photo Bureau]