The man said he told only one friend about the abuse while it was occurring. She urged him to tell the archdiocese for years. In 1993, she told him how church members refused to believe Stokes' accusations and shunned the teen-ager. Blackwell had denied the charge, and Cardinal William H. Keeler allowed him to return to St. Edward after briefly staying at a treatment center.
The friend finally persuaded him to tell church officials his story in 1998, after his son was born. "I didn't want someone like him doing that to my son," he said. And, he added, he wanted the authorities to believe Stokes' story as well.
The Rev. J. Bruce Jarboe, director of clergy personnel, met with the man in Las Vegas, where he then lived. When Blackwell later was confronted by archdiocesan officials, he replied, "It's true," Jarboe said.
The archdiocese at the time characterized the abuse to The Sun as "a consensual affair." "How do you do that to a 14- or 15-year-old?" he said yesterday.
The man has never returned to Maryland -- nor does he want to. What happened is still so agonizing that he can't discuss it without crying. "It kills me to talk about it," he said.
Blackwell's abuse has cost him relationships, marriages, his health -- and his faith.
"He really messed up my life," he said. "I just want to pull the covers back over my head."