February 16, 2005

Jury deliberations begin in defrocked priest's trial

New York Newsday

By Foster Klug
The Associated Press

February 16, 2005, 12:59 PM EST

Jurors began deliberations today in the trial of a former priest accused of sexually molesting an altar boy, who shot the cleric on a city street a decade after the alleged abuse.

In their closing arguments, attorneys focused on the former altar boy, Dontee Stokes, portraying him as a disturbed young man who made up the allegations to deal with a sexual identity crisis, and a vulnerable victim preyed upon by a trusted father figure.

Defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell told jurors Stokes had "homosexual tendencies" and was "willing to lie" to protect the secret of his sexual identity.

Ravenell, the attorney for defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, said Stokes fabricated the abuse allegations as a way of dealing with his sexuality.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 01:06 PM