Maurice Blackwell, the former priest of St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore, was convicted yesterday of molesting a parish choirboy, who years later shot him, reports the Baltimore Sun. The defrocked priest, found guilty of three counts of child sexual abuse that took place in the early 1990s, could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison on April 15 by Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger. Blackwell, 58, was acquitted of one count of abuse for incidents that were alleged to have occurred in 1989.
The weeklong trial attracted national attention because the accuser, Dontee Stokes, shot him in May 2002 at the height of the national priest abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Stokes, now 29, was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of weapons violations. He served home detention. Blackwell became the 271st Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexual abuse since 1965. He was defrocked in October by Pope John Paul II and has not been a pastor since 1998, when he admitted having had a sexual relationship with another teenage boy in the 1970s.