- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A priest shot and wounded, police said, by a man who had accused him of sexual abuse was released from the hospital yesterday.
Father Maurice Blackwell, 56, left the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center at about 10 a.m., said hospital spokeswoman Therese Trainum.
The priest was shot three times Monday outside his home, after refusing to talk to Dontee Stokes, 26, the man charged with attacking him.
Father Blackwell was hospitalized Monday night in serious condition. He was shot in the left hand and twice near the left hip.
Mr. Stokes, who was released from jail on $150,000 bail on Friday, received a public apology that day from Cardinal William Keeler during a noon mass at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore.
Cardinal Keeler of the Baltimore archdiocese said Mr. Stokes "suffered intensely because of the difficulties in which he now finds himself and which we find ourselves."
The cardinal added, "I express my sympathy to him and to his family members and to all who suffer because of what has been transpiring. It is an occasion for us before the Lord to commit ourselves more deeply to the protection of young people, the protection of children."
Mr. Stokes turned himself in to police hours after the shooting and was charged with attempted murder, gun violations and assault. He was under house arrest yesterday, wearing an electronic monitoring device at a relative's home, away from Father Blackwell's neighborhood. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
Mr. Stokes says Father Blackwell molested him in 1993, when he was 17 and Father Blackwell was pastor of St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore.
Although police investigated, the probe was dropped.
Father Blackwell, who had been temporarily relieved of his duties, was reinstated by the archdiocese over the objections of a lay review panel. But he was put on a permanent leave of absence five years later after he admitted he had a sexual relationship with another teen-age boy before his ordination in 1974.


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