Baltimore police have discovered that DNA found on the body of Father A. Joseph Maskell had no connection to the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, who went missing in 1969 and was later found dead after leaving her apartment to go shopping.
Sister Cesnik was a respected nun who taught at Archbishop Keough High School (now Seton Keough High School), where Father Maskell served as the chaplain. Maskell was also a chaplain for Baltimore City and County police. When sexual abuse allegations came to light in the 1990s, Father Maskell fled the country and passed away in 2001 without being charged.
While the DNA evidence doesn’t clear Father Maskell since it disproves of a physical link, the case could still be solved depending on whether or not survivors or witnesses come forward.
These new developments are coincidentally timed around the release of a Netflix series, The Keepers, which is about the nun’s disappearance and death. The series will examine how students may have confided in Sister Cathy about any sexual abuse before her death and a possible cover-up by the perpetrators.
Elise Armacost, a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department, stated that they have been working on the case for the past four years in light of new developments and it is in no way related to the release of The Keepers.
Ahead of the release of the series, Seton Keough High School sent out an email to parents encouraging them to watch the series with their daughters due to any possible graphic content. The school will also have counselors available the following week.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore has paid nearly $500,000 in settlements related to alleged abuse by Maskell, as well as over $90,000 to cover counseling for victims.
The Keepers will be available to stream on Netflix on May 19.