February 17, 2005

Catholic priest faces up to 45 years in prison for sexual abuse


00:19 2005-02-18
Maurice Blackwell, the recently defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting a teenager more than 10 years ago, was found guilty on three of four counts of sexual abuse of Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner of St. Edward's Church in West Baltimore who shot the cleric on a city street in 2002.

The jury, which deliberated 5 1/2 hours over two days, found Blackwell not guilty on the first charge of sexual abuse -- relating to Stokes' allegation that the abuse began in 1989 -- but guilty on the other three.

Stokes said the molestation began when he was 13 and continued until he was 17. The jury convicted Blackwell of abusing Stokes in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Blackwell, 58, faces up to 45 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, informs Newsday.

After the verdict, Stokes said he felt vindicated. "Mr. Blackwell was at no point on trial. It was all about me," he said. "The world can see that I'm not a perfect person, but I stand here right and he stands wrong."

Stokes had served home detention on a gun charge related to the shooting.

Blackwell declined to comment. Defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell said he felt jurors reached their decision on evidence they should not have heard, referring to detectives' references to "other victims," which the judge ordered stricken from the record, reports CNN.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2005 05:21 PM