Priest accused of abuse is shot
Suspect's molestation claims were discounted by Baltimore Archdiocese in 1993.

May 15, 2000

BALTIMORE – A suspended priest was shot and seriously wounded outside his home by a man who accused him nine years ago of molestation, authorities said Tuesday in the latest turn in the sex scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.

Dontee Stokes, 26, surrendered Monday night and said he shot the Rev. Maurice Blackwell after the priest refused to talk to him, police spokeswoman Ragina Averella said. Stokes was charged with attempted murder, gun violations and assault.

Blackwell, 56, was in serious but stable condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His family declined to talk to reporters.

In 1993, the church concluded that Stokes' claims of being molested by Blackwell as a teen-ager were not credible. However, the priest has been on involuntary leave since 1998 because of similar allegations by another.

Police said Stokes had a .357-caliber handgun in a black duffel bag when he drove past Blackwell's home Monday evening, circled the block and went back. Police said Stokes tried several times to talk to the priest but that Blackwell showed no interest in speaking with him.

Police said Stokes then opened fire, hitting Blackwell in his left hand and twice in his left side near his hip. When police arrived, Blackwell identified Stokes as the gunman. Stokes surrendered nearly six hours later.

Ray Kempisty, a spokesman for the Baltimore Archdiocese, said Stokes had reported the allegations to police in 1993, but Blackwell was never charged.

According to a 1993 police report, Stokes, then 17, told officers that Blackwell had touched and fondled him for three years while he attended Bible-study classes at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church. The archdiocese conducted its own investigation and deemed the allegations not credible, Kempisty said.

However, the archdiocese stripped Blackwell of his priestly duties four years ago after concluding that he had a relationship with another minor, Kempisty said.