January 04, 2005

Blackwell's abuse trial postponed for 6th time

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published January 4, 2005

The sexual child abuse trial of recently defrocked Baltimore priest Maurice Blackwell was postponed for the sixth time yesterday after his defense attorney and the prosecutor told the judge that they were not ready to begin.

Blackwell, 58, is accused of molesting Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner who shot the older man in May 2002, more than a decade after the abuse allegedly occurred. The new trial date is Feb. 10.

Stokes, a 28-year-old West Baltimore barber, was acquitted of attempted murder charges, and Blackwell was later indicted on four counts of sexual child abuse and four counts of assault. The assault charges were dropped, but the sexual child abuse charges have been pending since May 2003.

Although the trial was set to begin yesterday morning, neither defense attorney Kenneth W. Ravenell nor Assistant State's Attorney Jo Anne Stanton had asked their witnesses to come to court. Both told the trial judge that they believed the administrative judge, John M. Glynn, had agreed to a postponement.

But Ravenell, who requested the delay, did not obtain an advance postponement from Glynn, and yesterday the trial judge, Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger, was visibly annoyed during the morning court proceeding that the attorneys were not prepared for trial.

Posted by kshaw at January 4, 2005 03:27 AM