Priest Shooter Testifies in Sex Abuse Trial

A man who shot and wounded a former priest three years ago, accusing him of abuse, testified Friday that he was "in disbelief" when the molestation began.

The former priest, Maurice Blackwell (search), is charged with four counts of child sex abuse. His accuser, Dontee Stokes (search), served home detention for accosting him on a city street in 2002 and shooting him.

Using explicit language and demonstrating with gestures, Stokes, 29, said pats on the back and ear-tugging from the popular priest led to sexual molestation. He testified he was "in disbelief" and "disgusted."

But the former altar boy acknowledged that he told no one about the abuse until a year after it ended.

"I didn't want to get him in trouble and have him removed," Stokes said.

In opening statements earlier Friday, lawyers for Blackwell described Stokes as a confused young man afraid to admit he was a homosexual for fear of being ostracized by his family.

Prosecutors disagreed.

"This is a case about faith and trust and a violation of that faith and trust," said prosecutor Joanne Stanton.

Once a highly regarded pastor at St. Edward's, Blackwell is accused of abusing Stokes between 1989 and 1992. He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Stokes made his allegations in 1993, at age 17, but prosecutors declined to press charges, citing insufficient evidence. Blackwell was returned to the church after receiving psychological counseling.

Blackwell was stripped of his church authority in 1998, after acknowledging having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy in the early 1970s.

In May 2002, in the midst of the national scandal involving Catholic priests, Stokes confronted Blackwell on a city street and shot him three times. After the shooting, prosecutors reviewed Stokes' allegations and charged Blackwell.

Stokes was acquitted of attempted murder in December 2002, but convicted on gun charges.