Blackwell's Fla. accuser, police meet

Another alleged victim to talk to officers Monday

August 10, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Florida man who said this week he was repeatedly raped as a teen-ager by the Rev. Maurice J. Blackwell met with police detectives yesterday to talk about the Baltimore priest.

Warren Hart, 42, who grew up in Baltimore, said the abuse started in 1975, when he was 15 years old, and continued for at least two years.

Another man who alleges Blackwell sexually molested him was supposed to meet with detectives yesterday as well, but the meeting was postponed until Monday, according to the state's attorney's office.

The second man, whom authorities would not name, brings the total to five men who have accused the priest of abusing them when they were young.

Blackwell, 56, is being investigated by the state's attorney's office but has not been charged with a crime.

A spokeswoman for the state's attorney said the investigation may be progressing slower than others because the alleged abuse happened decades ago.

"A significant factor in these types of investigations is that so much time has passed, there needs to be more exhaustive records search," said Margaret T. Burns of the state's attorney's office. "Oftentimes, people have relocated, and memories become fuzzy about specific details and dates. Records could be missing or destroyed."

The Florida man, who grew up in the Gwynn Oak neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore, said he came forward with his story to show support for Dontee Stokes, another alleged victim of Blackwell.

Stokes admitted shooting Blackwell in May because he said the priest refused to apologize for molesting him. Stokes, 27, is charged with attempted murder and is on house arrest.

Hart, who now lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla., said the abuse happened to him at the rectory of St. Bernardine Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore. He and as many as 10 other youths would routinely spend the night there, Hart said.

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