February 12, 2005

Accuser's Mental Condition Argued in Priest Abuse Case

Washington Post

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 12, 2005; Page B06

BALTIMORE, Feb. 11 -- Dontee Stokes's emotional testimony at his trial on an attempted-murder charge in 2002 helped lead to his acquittal in the shooting of Maurice J. Blackwell, a former Roman Catholic priest who allegedly had molested Stokes when he was a child. Stokes, now 29, told jurors that he had "an out-of-body experience" when he confronted Blackwell on a city street and put three bullets in him.

The jury sympathized with his emotional distress.

On Friday, Stokes faced the defrocked pastor again in court, this time with Blackwell, 58, in the defendant's chair, charged in the sexual abuse that Stokes alleges was inflicted on him by Blackwell from 1989 to 1992. And just as Stokes's psychological state was a key issue before the jury two years ago, so it is now, as Blackwell's attorney tries to portray Stokes as someone who at times has trouble differentiating fact from fantasy.

The defense attorney, Kenneth W. Ravenell, mocked Stokes's assertion of an out-of-body experience. In his opening statement, Ravenell told jurors that Stokes has struggled with his sexuality and that he lied about being molested by Blackwell.

Posted by kshaw at February 12, 2005 08:21 AM