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Criminal defense for priest who made poor judgment

New Jersey residents are bombarded with news of crime at multiple points within any given day. Turn on the television, listen to the radio or sign on to check your email, and you will undoubtedly be subjected to reports of some criminal act or another. While crime is a very serious social matter, there are many instances in which a simple act of questionable judgment is portrayed as a far more serious issue. Such may be the case for a local priest who has likely hired a criminal defense attorney after being charged with a serious crime.

According to reports, the 54-year-old priest from St. Margaret's of Cortona Church pointed a weapon at a child within the church property. However, additional details suggest that rather than an act of violent crime, the incident was a joke that was never intended to frighten the child or lead to harm. The incident between an 8-year-old child and the priest was witnessed by multiple parishioners, further indicating that the matter was not serious in nature.

The incident took place on the same day as the NFL season opener between the Cowboys and the Giants. The priest called the boy into his office and then pointed a gun at the child's head, telling him that he was going to shoot him. The weapon in question was a Civil War musket, and there is no mention of it being loaded or capable of firing.

The priest was soon arrested and charged with aggravated assault by use of a firearm and child endangerment. The state prosecutor has made statements to the effect that the incident was based on the fact that the child was a Cowboys fan, and the priest was rooting for the other team. While few in New Jersey would question that the incident was in poor taste and was the result of flawed judgment, it is also difficult to imagine that the encounter was anything other than a joke, especially since it took place in front of multiple parishioners. The priest, alongside his chosen criminal defense attorney, will determine the best manner in which to respond to the charges against him.

Source: cleveland.com, "New Jersey priest accused of pointing gun at child because he's Dallas Cowboys fan", Cliff Pinckard, Oct. 5, 2015

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