February 17, 2005

Clergy sex scandal: another descent into the cesspool

New York Newsday

Dan Rodricks

February 17, 2005

WHAT am I doing in this cesspool again? It was a lovely Lenten Wednesday in the old palatinate. I could have had a leisurely bagel and coffee with friends in the kibitz room at Attman's. I could have sat quietly in the natural light of the back room of The Daily Grind and read the new City Paper. I could have taken a long drive out to Long Green to visit an old gentlemanly friend on his gentleman farm. Instead, I went to the spectacle of the defrocked priest trial downtown, and heard of nipple massaging.

The Catholic priest sex scandal keeps rolling along, like some underground river of old sludge, moving after a long freeze and bubbling to the surface in archdioceses from here to California.

Twelve years have passed since Dontee Stokes first accused his parish priest, Maurice Blackwell, of molesting him, and it has been nearly as long since the Baltimore state's attorney's office decided not to prosecute that case.

It has been seven years since Blackwell was forced out of his church in West Baltimore after admitting he had a sexual relationship with a different teen in the 1970s.

We are coming up on three years since Stokes shot Blackwell with a .357 Magnum, an explosion of violence in the midst of a barrage of reports about the creepy and criminal sexual habits of clergy across the nation.

It has been 2 1/2 years since Cardinal William H. Keeler went public with the names of 83 diocesan priests and men in religious orders who had been accused of sexual abuse.

It has been more than two years since a jury acquitted Stokes of attempting to kill the priest.

And just when you thought the whole sick, sad story had gone away, we get one more trial in the old archdiocese: This time it was the former priest, Blackwell, filling a Windsor chair at the defendant's table in Baltimore Circuit Court, Room 438.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2005 01:31 PM