- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

BALTIMORE City prosecutors sent two 1998 letters to Baltimore police yesterday accusing the Rev. Maurice Blackwell of sexual child abuse.
The letters, which were given to the State's Attorney's Office last Friday by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, refer to reported abuse by Father Blackwell about 30 years ago.
"This means that a police detective will be assigned to the case and make an effort to locate and contact the victim," said Margaret Burns, the state's attorney's spokeswoman.
The archdiocese has maintained that the letters were sent to the State's Attorney's Office in September and October of 1998. But on Monday, Miss Burns said prosecutors concluded they were "virtually certain" after an "exhaustive" search that the letters had not been sent.
In the same year the letters were sent, Father Blackwell was removed after admitting to a sexual relationship with a youth.
Now, the police department's child-abuse unit will investigate and report its findings to State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy.
Miss Burns said sending the letters was only part of protocol, because there is no evidence the case was ever investigated. She said yesterday's development doesn't mean a case will be brought against Father Blackwell. He currently has no open cases against him.
Meanwhile, the man charged with shooting Father Blackwell got a new attorney, who says he will seek greater pretrial freedom for Dontee Stokes.
Warren Brown said his client needs to be able to visit doctors, his attorney and attend church services. Mr. Brown said he had tried to get permission for Mr. Stokes, 26, to come to his office on Tuesday, but that request was denied.
Mr. Stokes, who told police he had been sexually abused by Father Blackwell, has been confined at a relative's home since he was released on bail Friday.
"For Dontee, to be under house arrest under these circumstances is an affront to all young boys who have been victimized in such an ugly and heinous fashion," Mr. Brown said at a news conference.
Family members attended the news conference, including Mr. Stokes' mother, Tamara, and several of his aunts.
Mrs. Stokes said she was still seeking a personal visit and apology for her son from Baltimore Cardinal WilliamKeeler.
Cardinal Keeler has written that he regrets reinstating Father Blackwell in 1993 after Mr. Stokes accused him. Cardinal Keeler also visited Mr. Stokes' grandfather, Charles, and called Mrs. Stokes to apologize. But Mrs. Stokes emphasized that she thought it was important to have a personal visit.
She also said she hopes to get her son counseling.
"Dontee is confined, and he is coping with the situation without any medical attention," she said.
Mr. Brown said he was focusing on his client's defense, but he said he wasn't ruling out trying to show Father Blackwell's criminal liability.
Mr. Brown also said he hoped the attempted-murder charge against Mr. Stokes would be dropped.
"We think that this is more a mental health issue, as opposed to a criminal issue," he said.


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