Md. Priest Charged With Child Sex Abuse

Associated Press, May 8, 2003
By BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE — A priest who was shot three times last year by a man who accused him of sexual abuse has been charged with molesting the shooter as a child.

The Rev. Maurice Blackwell, 57, was expected to report to authorities to face four child sexual abuse charges Thursday, a day after he was indicted by a grand jury. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The indictment alleges Blackwell abused Dontee Stokes, now 27, between 1989 and 1992. Blackwell has denied abusing Stokes, who was a minor at the time.

Kenneth Ravenell, Blackwell’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. A bail hearing for Blackwell could be held as soon as Thursday.

Stokes, who admitted he shot Blackwell three times in front of his home, was acquitted of attempted murder in December, but convicted of handgun charges.

Warren Brown, who represented Stokes at his trial, said he was “overjoyed” by the grand jury’s indictment. “We’re very happy that it’s come to this point,” Brown said. “It’s been a long time for Dontee.”

In a 1993 police report, Stokes said Blackwell had abused him for three years when he was taking Bible study classes at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church, where Blackwell was the pastor.

Stokes has said he shot Blackwell on May 13, 2002, because the priest who baptized him as a baby wouldn’t apologize for molesting him as a teenager.

Stokes said he shot Blackwell while in an “out-of-body” state. Police said Stokes opened fire with a .357-caliber handgun he had in a black duffel bag, hitting Blackwell three times. He then drove away.

At the trial, Stokes testified that Blackwell had sodomized him; Blackwell refused to testify. Stokes is serving a sentence of eight months of home detention for the handgun conviction.

Blackwell was removed from the pulpit in 1998 following other abuse allegations. The archdiocese has begun the process of having him defrocked.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore said in a statement that it hopes the indictment and prosecution “will bring some measure of peace to those who have been harmed.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 8, 2003.
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