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Alleged abuse victim charged in priest shooting

A priest in the United States was shot and seriously wounded by a man who had accused him of abuse years ago. Police said Dontee Stokes, 26, turned himself in on Monday night to police, saying he had shot Fr Maurice Blackwell.

Blackwell was in serious but stable condition Tuesday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Centre. He had been shot around 6:00 p.m. Monday outside his home. Witnesses told police Stokes tried to talk to Blackwell before the shooting. Police said Stokes shot the priest with a handgun.

Blackwell is on a leave of absence from the Archdiocese of Baltimore because the church found in 1998 he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor, said Ray Kempisty, a spokesman for the archdiocese. In that case, the alleged victim told church officials the relationship dated back at least 25 years, Kempisty said. Church officials said Blackwell admitted to the relationship and said it had ended by 1978.

Blackwell was removed in October 1998 from his post at St. Edward's Church in west Baltimore, where he had worked as pastor since 1979.


15 May 2002