Sunday 22 October 2017

Priest who came to Ireland in 1990s linked to nun's murder in new Netflix documentary The Keepers

Sister Catherine Anne Cesnick, Fr Joseph Maskell. PIC: Netflix
Sister Catherine Anne Cesnick, Fr Joseph Maskell. PIC: Netflix
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A priest who moved to Ireland from the US in the mid 1990s has been linked to the murder of a nun in Netflix's new documentary The Keepers.

The seven part series, which debuts on the streaming site on Friday, examines the unsolved murder of Catholic nun Sister Cathy Cesnik, in Baltimore in 1969.

Nobody has ever been charged despite a lead emerging in the 1990s when one of her former students at Keough High School came forward to claim she was sexually abused by the high school's chaplain Father Joseph Maskell.

She also revealed that she was taken to see Sister Cathy's undiscovered body and was told, 'See what happens when you say bad things about people.'

Police believe she was murdered to prevent her revealing abuse at the school.

In The Keepers director Ryan White goes beyond the murder and uncovers clergy abuse, repressed memories and government and religious institutions that he says “at best, dropped the ball over the last 45 years – and, at worst, covered it up.”

The Sunday Times reports that the late Fr Maskell fled to Ireland in 1994 after police arrived to arrest him but that in correspondence between Fr Maskell and the Bishop he claimed he had been given temporary leave in America.

He was employed by the health service as a psychologist.  When the diocese contacted Baltimore they were told about the allegations against him and this information was given to the health service.

However, the priest continued to work as a psychologist in private practice in Wexford until 1998.  He later returned to America and died in 2001.

Police investigating the murder in Baltimore exhumed his body earlier this year and DNA results are expected this summer.

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