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Priest Shooting Suspect Gets Bail

May 17, 2002

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BALTIMORE (AP) _ A judge set bail of $150,000 Friday for a man charged with shooting a priest he accused of molesting him.

The ruling came after a psychiatrist testified that 26-year-old Dontee D. Stokes posed no danger to himself or others.

District Judge H. Gary Bass ordered Stokes to remain under house arrest at an aunt’s home far from the neighborhood where the Rev. Maurice Blackwell was shot Monday. Blackwell, 56, was in fair condition Friday.

Stokes will be fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

Dr. Stephen Siebert testified he talked Thursday to Stokes for about 2 1/2 hours in jail and he was ``coherent and easy to follow.″ ``He is praying for his recovery, and he is remorseful for his actions,″ Siebert said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal William Keeler apologized Friday for the first time to those sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests and said he regrets reinstating Blackwell back in 1993 after Stokes accused him.

``We know that there have been painful breaches of trust, and have dedicated ourselves to seeking solace for victims and fair punishment for perpetrators, goals which we have pursued but have not always succeeded in achieving, for many years,″ Keeler wrote in an opinion piece in The (Baltimore) Sun. ``I apologize for instances in which our efforts have failed.″

Keeler said Blackwell was restored to priestly duties after three months of psychiatric evaluations. Blackwell remained a pastor until 1998, when he was removed after admitting to a relationship with another teen-ager, according to the archdiocese.

``In light of what has occurred and of what was revealed in 1998, I would not make the same decision today,″ Keeler said.

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