July 02, 2005

Case against ex-priest dropped

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published July 2, 2005

Defrocked West Baltimore priest Maurice Blackwell will not face a new trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a onetime choirboy who later shot him, the state's attorney's office said yesterday, bringing to a definitive end a contentious case that dates to 1993.

"I reached a decision that I believe is in the interest of justice," State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said in a statement that outlined her reasons for not moving forward with another trial.

Prosecutors had been mum on their plans for the case since April, when a Baltimore Circuit Court judge overturned Blackwell's conviction by granting his request for a new trial, based on what the judge ruled was improper testimony about the former priest's other possible victims.

In February, a city jury convicted Blackwell, 59, of three counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Dontee Stokes over a period of three years when he was a teenager at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church.

Stokes, now 29, learned of Jessamy's decision in a brief meeting yesterday morning at Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. He hurried outside afterward, saying he was disappointed and upset.

Posted by kshaw at July 2, 2005 07:33 AM