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Netflix’s The Keepers may have shed light on the unsolved murder of a beloved nun, but now it’s also sparked an online petition asking the Baltimore Archdiocese to release their files on A. Joseph Maskell, a priest thought to be connected with her murder.
Maskell is a central figure in the 2017 docuseries — which investigates the 1969 murder of Catherine Cesnik, who taught at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keogh High School — as it is believed that Sister Cathy may have been killed because she knew about the sexual abuse he’d committed. The priest denied allegations of abuse right until he died in 2001. He was never charged.
According to the petition’s page (which currently has more than 11,000 signatures), the Archdiocese releasing all their files on Maskell would help “thoroughly investigate all avenues that may have led to the murder of Cathy Cesnik in 1969.” It would also “restore public trust in the Archdiocese, and confirm the Archdiocese’s statements regarding their handling of the sexual abuse claims.”
Series director Ryan White told the Baltimore Sun that The Keepers‘ producers had asked the archdiocese for their files on Maskell while working on the documentary only to be denied multiple times. He also noted that not only would the files shed light on whether the archdiocese authorities had known about the allegations against Maskell before he started working at Keogh, but they would also reveal details about the Church’s own investigation into Maskell when allegations were made against him in 1992 by Jean Wehner, one of his victims, who goes on to share her story in The Keepers.
Archdiocese spokesmen Sean Caine commented on the petition, saying that records related to Maskell are confidential.
“Archdiocesan policy and state law would preclude us from disclosing much of the information in them as they include confidential personal information (e.g. names of alleged sexual abuse victims), personnel records, health records, attorney-client communications, personally identifying information (such as social security numbers), etc.”
The Keepers is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer above.