February 15, 2005

Expert: Stokes shows symptoms of mental illness

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 15, 2005, 1:55 PM EST
An expert forensic psychiatrist testified this morning that Dontee Stokes, who has accused a defrocked Baltimore priest of molesting him more than a decade ago, exhibits so many symptoms of mental illness that he either is afflicted with severe psychosis or is pretending to be.

Dr. Neil Blumberg was among the first batch of defense witnesses called today as the trial against Maurice Blackwell, the former pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, entered its third day of testimony.

Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Stokes, a one-time altar boy, between 1989 and 1992, when he was a teenager. If convicted, Blackwell could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. Stokes, 29, shot Blackwell in May 2002 and was later acquitted of attempted murder charges.

Assistant State's Attorney Jo Anne Stanton rested her case this morning after calling a canon-law expert who testified about the usual duties of a priest. Monsignor Brian Ferme did not speak specifically about Blackwell, who was stripped of his church authority in 1998 after admitting to a sexual relationship in the 1970s with another teenage boy. Pope John Paul II defrocked Blackwell in October.

Posted by kshaw at February 15, 2005 03:09 PM