Netflix’s controversial docu-series The Keepers is making headlines after it sparked an online petition demanding the Baltimore Archdiocese to release a dead priest’s files, which was believed to be connected to the nun’s murder.
On Saturday, The Baltimore Times reported that an online petition called “Transparency from Archdiocese of Baltimore” has been launched on change.org. The said petition urges church officials to release the files of the late A. Joseph Maskell.
According to the petition, the files of Maskell will be significant to set out a thorough investigation of the controversial murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. The petition added that by doing so, it would also “restore the public trust in the Archdiocese, and confirm the Archdiocese’s statements regarding their handling of the sexual abuse claims.”
However, in a statement released by Archdiocese Spokesman Sean Caine, he reiterated that records related to Maskell are highly confidential and that the state law bars them from disclosing such information.
“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.”
Meanwhile, The Keepers director Ryan White revealed that the series producers asked the Baltimore Archdiocese for Maskell’s files “multiple times” while filming the docu-series. Unfortunately, their efforts were denied.
“I just feel like it shows no concern for the community healing, no sign of transparency at all.”
He also noted that the priest’s files would shed light on whether the archdiocese authorities already have knowledge of the allegations against Maskell even before he started working at Keogh. The files are also believed to reveal details about the Church’s own investigation on the priest.
As of this writing, the online petition has gathered 11,850 signatures.
Netflix’s The Keepers tells the story of the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, a nun who taught at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keogh High School. It is believed that Sister Catherine was murdered in 1969 due to her knowledge of Maskell’s alleged sexual abuse that he had committed.
The Keepers also includes several interviews with people including Charles Franz, who claims that his mother reported allegations about the priest in the late 1960s — before he worked at Keough.
However, church authorities denied the claims, adding that they have no record of the complaints made by Franz’s mother.
Maskell vehemently denied the allegations and was never charged. The priest passed away in 2001. Meanwhile, the archdiocese has reportedly paid $472,000 in settlements to alleged victims.
The Keepers is currently streaming on Netflix.
[Featured Image by The Keepers/Facebook]