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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Netflix mystery - Archdiocese of Baltimore might not recover

Archdiocese of Baltimore is the oldest diocese in the United States.

Archdiocese of Baltimore crest

“Our communications about Joseph Maskell and other abusive priests ... are designed to affirm survivors, to warn parents and the world of possible bad actors, to encourage any additional victims to come forward..."
In my opinion, the double murder mystery involving a young nun and an administrative assistant, although appearing to be unrelated, have the potential for bankrupting the Archdiocese of Baltimore. As a native of Baltimore, I can report about how proud the city is about its Roman Catholic history. Yet, maybe this pride will be displaced by the horror of a Netflix murder mystery documentary.

Netflix’s true crime doc, The Keepers, isn’t making a murderer. It’s far more haunting.

The primary mystery is the murder of a nun. But it’s what she knew that will devastate you.

Baltimore archdiocese responds to petition calling for release of Netflix, 'Keepers' priest Maskell's files

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has responded to the organizer of a petition that urged the release of personnel files of the late priest at the center of “The Keepers” documentary, saying it treated the request “very seriously” but is still declining to make the documents public.

More than 54,000 people have signed the petition, which calls on church officials to release the records of A. Joseph Maskell. The priest worked as chaplain and counselor at Archbishop Keough High School in Southwest Baltimore, during the 1960s and 1970s. Multiple people have accused him of sexual abuse. He denied the allegations before his death in 2001.

The Netflix documentary series “The Keepers” explored possible connections between abuse at Keough and the unsolved 1969 killing of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who taught there.

Kevin Turowsky, a Massachusetts man who watched the series, created the online petition this spring. He said the records could shed light on Cesnik’s death and on how the church handled the abuse allegations.

“People from around the globe have signed this petition,” Turowsky said. “I think that people are really interested in truth and justice.”

In an email to Turowksy this month, archdiocesan spokesman Sean Caine said the petition’s request “is one we treat very seriously and is deserving of careful consideration and prayer.”

“While some feel the release of Maskell’s personnel records would provide clarity and possibly even closure, the reality is that it would provide neither,” Caine wrote. “The release of files, especially redacted ones — would likely create frustration and/or even cause some to believe information they were expecting to find but didn’t was removed or never included.”

Caine added that releasing the files would “create a precedent that would likely soon be followed by requests for the release of personnel records of other priests and employees of the Church.”

He said the decision not to release Maskell’s files is “not a refusal to share relevant information about those who harmed children while representing the Church.”

He pointed to a public list first published in 2002 naming clergy accused of abuse.

Caine told The Baltimore Sun “we have given the matter very serious consideration and this is our best decision.”

“Our communications about Maskell and other abusive priests ... are designed to affirm survivors, to warn parents and the world of possible bad actors, to encourage any additional victims to come forward to civil authorities and the Church for assistance, and to include sufficient information such as assignment years so that those who might be impacted can speak with family members or other professionals,” he wrote in an email to The Sun. “We do not believe the release of even fully redacted files will serve these goals or provide the clarity and closure that is sought.”

Turowsky said he and others would continue to call for the release of records. “We’re not going away because of their refusal,” he said.

The 25-year-old, who works in the insurance industry, said he nearly stopped watching the seven-part documentary after a few episodes because he found it so depressing. But he kept watching, and ended up inspired by the former Keough students who are searching for answers in Cesnik’s death.

Scenes related to the Netflix series "The Keepers." The series examines sexual abuse at Archbishop Keough High School and the unsolved 1969 homicide of 26-year-old Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik, who taught there.

Catherine Cesnik, a 26-year-old nun, disappeared after leaving her Southwest Baltimore apartment to go shopping in November 1969. Two months later, her body was found in a frozen field in Baltimore County. Catherine Cesnik case: Archived Sun coverage

Licensing inquiries: Email
MaineWriter- (native of Baltimore) this story is obviously devastating to the Archdiocese of Baltimore because, even if the actual murderer is found, the story is inductive of cover ups about a horrible series of abusive incidents reported to have harmed innocent minors. If the murders are in any way connected to the priest who was implicated, the reparations will continue and won't be subject to any statute of limitations. Perhaps the Archdiocese of Baltimore may not be able to financially recover.

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