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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Justce for Sister Cathy: The Keepers


By Thornton Crowe

As many of you know from my previous writings, criminal injustice has always found a soft spot in my psyche, largely because I generally believe in our Rule of Law. A program on Netflix, once again, has struck a chord within me because the grave miscarriage of our justice system stirs even for the most hardened of hearts.

Sister Catherine Cesnik is probably a name many of you haven't heard of before. Her tale actually began and ended many decades ago. Close to 48 years ago, she was brutally murdered and many believe it was priests in her own parish who either orchestrated, planned and/or executed the egregious murder. Most importantly was not how she died but the following cover up by the Baltimore Archdiocese that makes this crime even more unsettling.

It began in November 1969 when she went out one night to buy her little sister a special engagement present. Sister Cathy left her apartment in Catonsville, Maryland and never returned home. She was killed to cover up bigger violations but in her death, silence has proven to be moot.


Does any Church deserve such political power that it expects get away with cold-blooded murder?

Since that time, through the diligence of two former students highlighted in The Keepers, her victimhood and memory has lived on in spite of the case being as a cold as the ground for which she's buried. Even now, almost five decades later, there are still no definitives; only more questions, conjecture and speculation as many continue to investigate - reaching one roadblock after another.

FOIA requests have gone unanswered and leads have grown cold due to death and time. Many of the players involved have since passed away but the one key suspect is the Seton Keogh priest Reverend Joseph A. Maskell, who is believed to be the ultimate perpetrator, died in the early 2000s, taking his secret to his grave.

Sister Cathy challenged the Church when she began to hear from her female students at Keogh about Maskell and a fellow priest's blatant sexual abuse of certain girls attending the parochial high school near Baltimore. The tales of torment and threats were great from these students who still live with the horrors of these acts as well as the gross betrayal from someone we are all led to believe we should trust without question.

Daylight makes all cockroaches run for cover...

Using the intimate details from their confessions, the priests exploited and extorted sexual favors from these teenage girls in the most heinous fashion and even allowed them to be abuse by others - including politicians and police officers in the Baltimore area. Maskell was never formally charged or reprimanded by the Church even though many complaints were reported by parents and students. Instead, he was moved around from school to school, allowing him a great victim pool to abuse and exploit.


Sister Cathy's murder was the catalyst that begins The Keepers' saga into a series of gut-wrenching interviews, exposing the Catholic church's blind eye policies towards atrocious pedophilia acts that causes one to question the validity of organized religion. In many ways, through her death, she has exposed a harsh light on the cockroaches lurking under the cloth and epitomizes the very reason why many do not trust religious orders any longer. Could this be the reason why our country has turned away from religion to a large extent?


Many of the victims came forward in the mid-Nineties; however, the cases went nowhere due to the statute of limitations on sex crimes in the state of Maryland. As a result of this documentary, C.T. Wilson, a Maryland State Senator and an abuse victim himself, did manage to get his bill passed after several times introducing it to the Maryland General Assembly. The new law taking effect as of July 1, 2017, extends the statue of limitations to persons abused in their childhood to the age of 38 from 25 years old. Even though this is great news for many, it also means many of Maskell's victims will still never truly have justice for the wrong done to them several decades ago.

Will Sister Cathy's murder ever be solved? At this point, as we know cold cases go, it is highly unlikely to be solved. Time, memories, death and evidence tend to fade, making it almost impossible to ascertain what happened to her on that cold night in November. However, through the documentary and continued efforts, perhaps one day we'll have some semblance of resolution - regardless of how shrouded in mystery it may be when all is said and done.

Is Pedophilia becoming normalized in our culture?

The Keepers is well worth the 7+ hours to view and it will bring about many questions more than answers. However, it beckons us to ponder just how much pedophilia has become so common place in our society that we've become almost immune to it, not realizing (or caring about) the lifelong damage it inflicts on victims.

My article about the WCBOE and their new policy for children walking through neighborhoods where registered sex offenders resides from  yesterday garnered many disturbing comments that leads one to wonder how, even our own community, we have experienced a blind acceptance of this abuse against our children. Doesn't this provide us with another stark example of our own callousness and moral decay?

Are we going to let this abominable behavior become so intrenched in our culture that we lose our future to mental illness? The choice is really up to you and I to determine what is deemed acceptable and that which is not, but perhaps it's time we revisited, not only the law, but within our own souls to find a way to face this horrific problem that exists now more than it did in 1969.

Once we go down the road where molesting and raping children is normalized and sanctioned, is there really any way back to any semblance of a civilized society? I would think not.


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it takes angels to open our eyes.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic church is not a church. It is a business and a very big one. There are numerous horror stories. I heard 30-40 yrs ago of another one this in Baltimore City. The city had purchased some property once belonging to I believe that archdioceses. They were going to build something and when digging found what at first appeared to be roots but turned out to be human bones. The archdioceses was informed but didn't care UNTIL it was threatened to call the Baltimore Sun newspaper. It never was confirmed what the real story was but it was rumored to be the remains of a Catholic order of cloistered nuns who had lived in a convent either on the property or nearby.

Anonymous said...

Justce??!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time to start assessing taxes to all churches because 917 is absolutely correct. They are a business. Several churches in this area definitely have property they profit from. One church who runs out of Parkside (or used to) has homes they rent to college kids for $1600 a month and they also owned the storage place in the Court Plaza on Route 13 S. They don't pay taxes because they claim tax exempt status. Allow them to only claim tax exemption on their physical house of worship and all the capital expenditures used to run that structure. This does not include homes and other properties they hold.

Can you imagine all the tax revenue the Salisbury and Wicomico would have if they just denied tax exempt status from this church alone?

Anonymous said...

Mmm reminds me of another religion , Islam . Pomp and circumstance , the elegant robes and all the decor a romance of BS. A worship of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Catholics have had many problems throughout the years with priests molesting the youth in their parishes. It is a norm in many larger cities and we never hear of any of them going to jail. The church covers for them like they did in this case but this has caused many to turn away from religion. One of my gay friends has often said to me he wonders if he'd be gay had his priest not molested him when he was an alter boy. Here's the sickest bit. During the time he was being molested, the priest told him it was he who was sinning not the priest. He was told that he was forever damned because the priest violated him. Sick sh**!

Anonymous said...

I am cradle to grave Roman Catholic. I am not "from here" but my current diocese, Wilmington, was also rocked by the pedophile priests and the resulting law suits. Due to some shady accounting and record keeping, the parishes were assessed $10 million to recover monies loaned by the lay pension fund to cover damages. As one can imagine this was a terrible load but the obligation was met. This debt was repaid pretty much, in my opinion, based on our faith. I knew none of the perpetrators and was not even in the diocese when all this occurred. My faith is deeper than the building and mortar or the man who consecrates the bread and wine at mass (after all they are also human). I was an altar boy for many years during my youth and thank God I was never a victim. I guess my point is, while I am sorry for the sins committed by some priests, faith has to go deeper than human frailties.

Anonymous said...

I binge watched this series the other night and cried most of the time. The things done to those girls was horrible. Priests performing gynecological exams on them while telling them they were repenting for their sins and called them counseling sessions. One girl was caught with dope in her bag and her parents left it up to the priest at school to deal with her. He pimped her out to police officers in the area and told her if she told anyone he would kill her. The other nuns knew about it but none of them ever questioned his authority or turned him in.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think about that sick movie, Primal Fear, with Richard Gere and Ed Norton. The alter boy kills the priest and is charged with murder even though the priest had been molesting him for years. Makes you think about what religion is really all about these days.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ abolished religion.
All souls will go to heaven - that is the Good News of the Gospel.
Whether you believe it or not.

Anonymous said...

Catholics and most religions are all about the $$$$ , so sad , my bible says the love of money is the root of all evil .

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new. It's not more prevalent. Ordinary people are not immune to this sick violation. It is bigger than us. The system allows this! These sorts should be eliminated. They are wastes of flesh. Yet we are forced by law to coexist with them.

Anonymous said...

Of course the CC priesthood is attractive to gays. Who else would swear off traditional marriage and sex. That's just not normal behavior.

Anonymous said...

1049 it might not be new but it should be legally stopped. Or are you advocating children should be treated this way?

Anonymous said...

9:50. All souls will not go to heaven. You know that is a lie from the devil.

Anonymous said...

1136 you can't have it both ways. If you're made of God then it would serve that all souls go back to the creator. Even Evil has an essence of God or else would it even exist? How's that for a bit of a philosophical maze to begin your day?

Anonymous said...

The Catholic church always covers for their own. You can lie, cheat, molest and steal as long as you're in good favor with the diocese. They don't care.

Anonymous said...

12:43. You reject God. Simple. There can be no evil in heaven. And since you mention the gospel....Jesus is the only way.

Anonymous said...

On Judgement Day . . . every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And yes, every soul will certainly go to Heaven.

That was Jesus Christ's decision.
Not ours.

Rejoice!

And stop participating in organized religion.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

3:36. Just like the devil who can quote scripture and then twist it to deceive. Your first sentence is from scripture. The rest is not. Do not deceive others. Not every soul goes to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Revelation 21:8.

Anonymous said...

Not at all! How the hell did you come to that conclusion 11:15?
ALL sex offenders should be eliminated!!

Anonymous said...

Well I heard there was some kind of issue at the local Catholic school where the principal "resigned." Not sure about the details, but he's gone.

Anonymous said...

225 youre a moron. you have no licenses to make that assessment. watch your tongue. God doesn't like liars.