February 16, 2005

Closing Arguments Set Against Md. Priest

The Dispatch

Associated Press Writer

The defense for a former priest accused of child sex abuse relied on psychiatrists and church members to bolster claims that the alleged victim - who shot the cleric three years ago - sometimes appeared to have trouble sorting fact from fantasy.

The attorney for defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, 58, claims Dontee Stokes, 29, made up the abuse allegations as a way of dealing with his own sexual identity crisis.

Throughout the trial, however, the prosecution has insisted Blackwell preyed on a vulnerable child who wanted to be a priest, and trusted Blackwell as a father figure. Stokes, though acknowledging he had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality at times, insists the abuse was real.

Both sides have rested their cases; closing arguments were to begin Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 04:24 AM