February 10, 2005

Defrocked priest proclaims his innocence

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 10, 2005
Delivering his message with the same impassioned oratory he once used from the pulpit, Maurice Blackwell, a former priest, defended himself publicly yesterday for the first time.

On the eve of his trial on sexual child abuse charges, Blackwell excoriated the Roman Catholic Church for abandoning him and called his accuser mentally disturbed.

Jury selection begins this morning in the trial of the recently defrocked priest who stands accused of molesting Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, more than a decade ago.

Stokes shot Blackwell, 58, almost three years ago. After the 29-year-old was acquitted of attempted murder charges, city prosecutors sought an indictment for the ex-priest.

"What has happened to me over the past 10 years has cost me most of what a person holds dear," Blackwell said, reading from a prepared statement. "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."

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2005 03:47 AM