The FBI will exhume the physique of a girl whose mysterious loss of life was detailed in Netflix’s true-crime sequence “The Keepers,” as legislation enforcement officers discover a possible hyperlink with the chilly case homicide of a Baltimore nun.
“The Keepers” investigated the unsolved homicide of Sister Catherine Cesnik, a nun and Baltimore highschool trainer, and allegations of sexual abuse by an influential Baltimore priest named Father Joseph Maskell within the Sixties.
In November 1969, earlier than Cesnik seemingly vanished, Joyce Malecki was strangled, stabbed and located submerged in a physique of water at Fort Meade.
Malecki’s physique will probably be exhumed from Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore along with her household’s permission because the FBI explores an unspecified lead presumably connecting the 2 instances, Kurt Wolfgang, govt director of Maryland Crime Victims’ Useful resource Heart, confirmed to information retailers.
“The FBI gave us no indication aside from to say the aim of the exhumation is to gather proof,” Wolfgang informed WBAL-TV. “Our greatest hypothesis is that they might be in search of DNA proof to match it up with a possible suspect they might have already got.”
Gemma Hoskins, who has devoted her life to investigating the homicide of Sister Cesnik, informed WBAL she all the time felt the two chilly instances had been linked and believes they’ll lead again to Father Maskell not directly.
“The household has been by way of an terrible lot. This isn’t a pleasing expertise for anyone, however they’re trying ahead to what the FBI finds and hopefully shares with them,” Hoskins informed the native information outlet.
There’s no particular date set for the exhumation.
WHO WERE JOYCE MALECKI AND SISTER CATHERINE CESNIK?
Malecki was on a Christmas procuring journey earlier than she disappeared. She had plans to satisfy her boyfriend at Fort Meade the day she went lacking, however she by no means confirmed up.
Her physique was present in a physique of water on the army coaching base with apparent indicators of trauma and a wrestle.
Cesnik, 26, taught at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough Excessive Faculty when she was killed, and lots of consider the 2 instances lead again to Father Maskell, who was the highschool’s chaplain.
Throughout the Netflix sequence, survivors detailed sexual abuse allegations in opposition to Father Maskell and accusations of an institutional cover-up.
Maskell, who died in 2001, was by no means criminally charged and denied all of the allegations, though he was faraway from priestly ministry in Baltimore in 1994.
Earlier than that, the archdiocese moved him from two parishes within the Sixties due to “troubling habits with youngsters,” in line with a 2023 report by the Maryland Lawyer Common’s Workplace.
Maskell allegedly had “a fascination with the sexual fantasies and habits of Boy Scouts and having younger ladies within the rectory beneath suspicious circumstances,” the report says.
MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL’S EXPLOSIVE 2023 REPORT
Greater than 50 years later, the troubling case is an interwoven internet that’s nonetheless being investigated and pulled aside.
“The incontrovertible historical past uncovered by this investigation is certainly one of pervasive and chronic abuse by monks and different Archdiocese personnel,” the report says. “It’s also a historical past of repeated dismissal or cover-up of that abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy.”
In April, the Maryland Lawyer Common’s Workplace launched an investigative report “on little one sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore” that started in 2018, which particularly detailed accusations in opposition to Maskell and 155 different abusers.
Maskell was described as “intimidating,” had a “fondness for firearms” and had a “extreme dislike” for archdiocesan authority, the report says.
In complete, 146 clergy members had been named, plus 10 extra alleged abusers whose names had been redacted “as a result of they weren’t recognized to be deceased on the time of the report and had not beforehand been listed as credibly accused by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”
The alleged abusers focused “susceptible” or “remoted” youngsters who had been shy, had low shallowness or struggled with points at house, in line with the AG’s report, and the abusers portrayed themselves as their “protectors.”
“They informed their victims the abuse was ‘God’s will’ and that nobody would doubt the phrase of a priest,” the report says. “Some threatened that the sufferer or sufferer’s household would go to hell in the event that they informed anybody.”
Maskell sexually abused at the very least 39 victims and allegedly confided in a pal sooner or later between 1992 and 1994 that the allegations in opposition to him had been true, in line with the lawyer common’s report.
The archdiocese listed Maskell as “credibly accused” in 2002, a 12 months after his loss of life, and settled a class-action lawsuit with 15 of his victims.
The archdiocese was conscious of allegations in opposition to Maskell as early as 1966, however its leaders swept the considerations beneath the rug and prevented the difficulty by shifting the priest from parish to parish, the report concluded.
It was frequent follow of the Catholic Church for many years, advocates for clerical intercourse abuse victims say.
The report detailed the graphic allegations in opposition to Maskell from pages 257 to 267.
WHEN DID MASKELL AND CESNIK CROSS PATHS?
One among Maskell’s victims, who was an adolescent when she was raped in 1992, mentioned Maskell allegedly confirmed her Sister Cesnik’s physique in “a distant space” after she went lacking, in line with the AG report.
The sufferer additionally mentioned that earlier than Sister Cesnik went lacking, she had requested the sufferer if anyone was hurting her or making her do one thing she didn’t need to do
Many of the detailed accusations of sexual abuse in opposition to Maskell happened at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough Excessive Faculty. Most of the victims mentioned he threatened them with a gun, the report says.
“A few of the accounts of abuse are intertwined with the homicide of Cathy Cesnik,” in line with the report, which steered she could have been killed as a result of his victims confided in her in regards to the abuse.
Many victims reported Maskell took them to see Cesnick’s physique, in line with the report.
ARE CESNIK’S AND MALECKI’S DEATHS CONNECTED?
Malecki and Cesnick disappeared 4 days aside in the identical space, however there’s nothing definitive connecting the 2 chilly instances besides hypothesis.
Legislation enforcement hit a lifeless finish in Cesnik’s homicide case in 2017 after Maskell’s physique was exhumed by Baltimore County Police, who didn’t discover any proof tying him to her crime scene.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore bragged in regards to the discovering in a 2017 tweet that mentioned, “SPOILER ALERT. Exhumed priest’s DNA doesn’t match proof discovered at crimes scene of Sister Cathy’s Dying #TheKeepersTruth @the_keepers.”
The social media submit was greeted rudely by Twitter customers following the case.
Malecki attended Mass with Maskell and lived near the church’s rectory on the time of her loss of life.
“It doesn’t matter that it was 50-some years in the past. Justice is justice. And I do know the Malecki household nonetheless yearns for it,” Wolfgang informed WBAL.
ARCHDIOCESE RESPONDS TO THE AG REPORT
“The Archdiocese profoundly apologizes for the struggling of victims of kid sexual abuse by the hands of any and all church personnel,” the archdiocese mentioned in response ot the AG’s report.
The archdiocese devoted a whole web site addressing the report.
“We respect the Lawyer Common’s recognition of some efforts made by the Church, however the Report doesn’t acknowledge the complete scope of the Archdiocese’s efforts to guard youngsters in current many years,” the archdiocese mentioned on the web site.
“The Lawyer Common’s Report additionally consists of sure inaccuracies and doesn’t give a transparent impression that the variety of incidents of kid sexual abuse within the Archdiocese has fallen dramatically since its peak within the late Seventies.”
The response consists of an empathic “No,” beneath the section, “Is the Church nonetheless masking up abuse?”
“For many years, the Archdiocese has been firmly dedicated to holding suspected abusers accountable,” the assertion says. “Then-Lawyer Common Brian Frosh confirmed in a November 2022 interview with WYPR that since at the very least 2002, the Archdiocese stories little one abuse when it’s reported to them and there’s no proof on any ongoing cover-up”
The archdiocese mentioned it cooperated through the AG’s four-year investigation by offering “a whole lot of 1000’s of pages” of requested paperwork.
“We all know now that a few of our early efforts had been inadequate, however they had been essential beginning factors. We consider that leaders of the Archdiocese of Baltimore have, for greater than three many years, labored constantly and in good religion to deal with the issue of kid sexual abuse and reply appropriately to victim-survivors and put into place a tradition that protects essentially the most susceptible.”
The assertion doesn’t particularly point out Maskell or the hypothesis that he could also be tied to the unsolved murders oc Cesnik and/or Malecki.