Grand Jury Questions Stokes on Alleged Abuse
Man Who Shot Priest Says He Hoped Lesser Accusation in '93 Would Be Enough to Prosecute Blackwell

The Associated Press, carried in Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]
May 6, 2003

They seemed to zero in on the delay," Brown said.

Brown said Stokes explained he thought his lesser accusation against Blackwell would be enough to prosecute the priest, and he would not have to tell authorities he had been raped, Brown said.

"Number one, it was quite embarrassing and number two, he thought the touching was offensive enough. It was in violation of the law, and it was morally wrong," Brown said.

Brown said he is confident Blackwell will be indicted on sex abuse charges.

"They're not there to decide whether Blackwell is guilty or not, just whether there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial at a later date," Brown said. "I don't think that's much of a hurdle to overcome."

Blackwell's attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, didn't return a call today by The Associated Press seeking comment on the grand jury investigation. Blackwell refused to testify in Stokes' attempted murder trial last year, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

As he entered the courthouse, Stokes said he was "prayerful that everything will go well."

Reporters waited to speak with him after the grand jury session, but Stokes joined his mother, who had been waiting for him in the courthouse, and they exited through a side door.

No other witnesses have been called, but prosecutors have reserved time Wednesday in case jurors want to hear testimony from a different source, Brown said.

Police investigated Stokes' allegations in 1993, but Blackwell was never charged. City state's attorneys began investigating Blackwell again last year after Stokes alleged he had been raped, said Margaret Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.

Brown defended Stokes when he was acquitted of attempted murder for the May 2002 shooting of Blackwell. Stokes has appealed handgun convictions related to the shooting.

Dontee Stokes, the Baltimore man who shot a priest he accused of sexually abusing him, was questioned for about 40 minutes today by a grand jury investigating the allegations against the clergyman.

Jurors asked Stokes, now 27, why he reported in 1993 that the Rev. Maurice Blackwell had touched him, but did not allege until last year that the priest raped him, said Stokes' attorney, Warren Brown.


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