NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man accused of punching an auxiliary bishop during a weekend Mass in New Jersey has pleaded not guilty to assault.
Charles Miller entered the plea during a brief court appearance Tuesday.
Essex County authorities say the 48-year-old Newark resident punched the Rev. Manuel Cruz in the mouth Saturday at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. The incident occurred during a service honoring the late baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.
Authorities say Miller was in a pew when he got up, went to the altar and punched Cruz, knocking him down. The bishop was treated at a hospital for a mouth injury that required several stitches.
A motive for the attack remains under investigation,
Cruz addressed the congregation Sunday and said he was doing well.