February 09, 2005

Blackwell Says He's Innocent Of Sex Crimes


POSTED: 4:23 pm EST February 9, 2005

BALTIMORE -- A day before his trial, a defrocked priest broke a long silence on Wednesday to assert his innocence against child sex abuse allegations by a man who shot the cleric three times in 2002 during the widely publicized child abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

It was the first time Maurice Blackwell, who now walks with a cane as a result of the attack, has spoken publicly about the case. He is charged with four counts of child sexual abuse between 1989 and 1992 -- a decade before Dontee Stokes shot him. Jury selection begins Thursday.

In the past 10 years, he has lost "most of what a person holds dear," Blackwell said.

"I have lost my good name and reputation, my peace of mind -- even my health and physical mobility have been impaired over something I did not do," Blackwell said at a news conference in his attorney's office.

Blackwell, 58, described Stokes as a mentally disturbed young man who made the allegations in hopes of getting money out of him and the Catholic Church.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2005 03:59 PM