February 16, 2005

Accuser Testifies in Priest Sex Abuse Case

Los Angeles Times

By Stephen Braun, Times Staff Writer

BALTIMORE Two years after being acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting of a Roman Catholic priest, Dontee Stokes is back in the same courthouse this time to face the former cleric accused of molesting him.

Maurice J. Blackwell, 58, was defrocked by the Vatican last year. He faces four counts of child sexual abuse and could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.

In three days of testimony that ended Tuesday, Stokes, 29, was the lead prosecution witness. Between 1989 and 1992, Stokes said, Blackwell's avuncular pats on the back turned to inappropriate embraces and, finally, attempted sexual assaults on at least two occasions when he was 16.

"In disbelief" and "disgusted" by Blackwell's advances, Stokes testified, he was unsure how to proceed against a man he had come to trust. "I didn't want to get him into trouble and have him removed," he said.

Stokes, who admitted to shooting Blackwell twice, served 11 months under house arrest on a weapons violation. The incident occurred at the same time the Boston Archdiocese and other Catholic dioceses across the nation were facing with allegations that church officials for decades had failed to adequately deal with priests accused of sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 04:02 AM