February 10, 2005

Jury seated for Blackwell trial

Baltimore Sun

By Brian Witte
The Associated Press
Originally published February 10, 2005, 7:33 PM EST

A jury was impaneled today as the trial began for a former priest accused of child sexual abuse against a man who shot him nearly a decade after the alleged abuse.

Opening statements were scheduled to begin Friday morning in the case against Maurice Blackwell, who is charged with four counts of sexually abusing 29-year-old Dontee Stokes when Stokes was a teenager. Stokes shot Blackwell in 2002, when the church abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was highly publicized.

While lawyers sifted through the jury pool, Stokes said the trial would do more than help him confront his alleged abuser. He said it will help other victims as well, and he hoped more victims would come to court to confront Blackwell.

"This trial is not just my fight, but it's the fight that we have to fight together," Stokes said outside the courtroom.

Blackwell, 58, sat in the courtroom as attorneys began putting together the jury that will decide his fate. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2005 07:06 PM