By Caroline Graham for The Mail on Sunday
Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!
3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Saturday, 24 June 2017
In God's Name, How Many More Did He Violate?
Horrifying real-life TV series The Keepers about a priest who preyed on school girls and may have killed a nun grips viewers
Sister Cathy Cesnik was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the 1960s
She was apparently threatening to expose widespread child sex abuse
Her mysterious death has been chronicled in the Netflix series The Keepers
Father Joseph Maskell, a paedophile Catholic priest who died in 2001, is a prime suspect in the series
By Caroline Graham for The Mail on Sunday
One cold November afternoon in 1969, a 17-year-old schoolgirl called Jean Wehner was driven to a remote rubbish dump on the outskirts of the American city of Baltimore. There, she was led to the rotting corpse of her murdered teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik.
‘This is what happens when you say bad things,’ the terrified teenager was warned.
The chilling scene from the new Netflix series, The Keepers, may seem like the plot of a Scandi-inspired thriller, but the hit show keeping millions of viewers on the edge of their seats is not a voguish noir fiction, but a cold-case documentary.
Pictured is Father Joseph Maskell, a paedophile Catholic priest, who is a prime suspect over the death of nun Sister Cathy in a new Netflix series
Already one of Netflix’s most successful series ever, the gripping seven-part show follows the real-life unsolved murder of Sister Cathy, who was bludgeoned to death with a hammer – apparently because she was threatening to expose widespread child sex abuse at the girls’ school in which she worked.
Sister Cathy Cesnik was bludgeoned to death with a hammer – apparently because she was threatening to expose widespread child sex abuse at the girls’ school in which she worked
The murder of a nun is only matched by the revulsion viewers feel when the prime suspect is revealed to be Father Joseph Maskell, a paedophile Catholic priest who died in 2001 without ever being brought to justice.
The series reveals stunning new evidence in the case and brings to light disturbing allegations from victims who claim powerful figures in the Church and police – Maskell’s brother was a Baltimore police officer – colluded to shield him from justice. Already it has forced detectives to look again at the case, and has sparked an inquiry 3,000 miles away in Co. Wexford, Ireland, a country where the Church has been forced to apologise for a series of abuse scandals perpetrated by Catholic clerics and nuns.
Many are asking why Maskell, despite being barred from working as a priest in the US, was allowed to move to Ireland to work as a child psychologist for the local health service and in private practice.
There, he also continued to say Mass – even after the Church was warned he was a serial rapist and possible killer.
To date, the Baltimore diocese has paid out almost half a million dollars in settlements to 16 former pupils the priest abused. Official inquiries are now under way in both Ireland and America.
Baltimore lawyer Joanne Suder, who represents several of Maskell’s US victims, says it is ‘horrendous’ that he was allowed to seek sanctuary in Ireland. It is particularly troubling to consider that some of Maskell’s patients had themselves been abused – vulnerable youngsters who were the victims of paedophile priests in the Ferns diocese of the same county, Wexford.
‘It’s horrifying,’ Suder adds. ‘The Catholic Church should be ashamed of itself.’
Teresa Lancaster, a lawyer who was abused by Maskell as a child, has told The Mail on Sunday that at least two more of his Irish victims have come forward in recent days.
‘I am certain more will follow,’ she says. ‘There could be as many as 100 of his victims in both Ireland and America.’
The Keepers has already reached its broadcast conclusion; yet the real-life case behind it shows no sign of disappearing from public view.
St Margaret's in Curracloe, County Wexford, Ireland, where Maskell is said to have held Mass
after fleeing the US
THE ‘SOUND OF MUSIC’ VICTIM
Sister Cathy Cesnik, 26, was a much-loved English teacher at the all-girls Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore.
She went missing on November 7, 1969, after going shopping to buy a wedding gift for her sister. Her mutilated body, the skull bashed in with a hammer and with strangulation marks around her neck, was found on a rubbish dump outside Baltimore in January 1970.
Cesnik adored the film The Sound Of Music and was described as a ‘real-life version’ of Julie Andrews’s character Maria. ‘She played guitar, sang and was full of life,’ recalls one pupil.
Several girls had told the nun about the sexual abuse taking place, and it seems she was about to go public when she was killed. A woman, who appears on The Keepers on condition of anonymity, says she was at Cesnik’s flat the night before she disappeared when Maskell, the school chaplain, stormed in.
‘He glared at me. He knew why I was there,’ she says. ‘She told me about the abuse. The next day, he threatened me with a gun and said he would kill my family if I ever spoke up about what she said.’
The detective who investigated Cesnik’s murder, Nick Giangrasso, tells the series he was made to hand over the case to a rival police department with close ties to Maskell: ‘The Catholic Church had a lot of power with the Baltimore police department. I think the murderer was in her social network, the priests and the religious order.’
Giangrasso says he tried ‘multiple times’ to interview prime suspect Maskell but ‘I never got a chance’. The case was abandoned a year later. No charges were ever brought.
Already one of Netflix’s most successful series ever, the gripping seven-part show follows the real-life unsolved murder of Sister Cathy
TESTIMONY OF THE ACCUSERS
For two decades, the murder remained forgotten.
But in 1994, Jean Wehner and Teresa Lancaster filed a £30 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Baltimore, claiming Maskell had sexually abused them.
Lancaster had been sent to see Maskell after her parents found a joint of cannabis in her bag. He forced her to sit naked on his lap while he molested her in what he told her was ‘a Godly manner’.
‘He said: “I’m not supposed to do this, but I find that I can really help people when I have physical contact”,’ Lancaster says. ‘I was in total shock. He abused me for over two years. For the first year, it was probably three times a week.’
After raping Wehner, Maskell used his semen to draw the sign of the cross on her forehead, saying it would cleanse her of her sins.
Maskell threatened his victims with expulsion, reform school and even death if they exposed his depravity. ‘He let me know that either I went along with whatever he wanted to do, or it was going to be worse than I could ever imagine,’ Lancaster says.
When victim Donna Von Den Bosch, now 60, threatened to report Maskell, he put a gun in her mouth, saying: ‘You’re a troublemaker. You’re trash. Nobody would believe you.’
People close to the nun believe that Sister Cathy had 'confronted' Maskell 'and she lost her life for it'
His depravity spread beyond Archbishop Keough. He also supplied schoolgirls for a sex ring at the nearby St Clement Church, where Lancaster claims she was abused by men who used the pseudonyms Brother Bob, Brother Ted and Brother Ed and paid Maskell for his work.
‘He was prostituting us,’ says Wehner, today aged 63. Together with Lancaster and Von Den Bosch, she recalls uniformed policemen joining in the abuse.
Wehner and Lancaster’s lawsuit was dismissed when the judge ruled the statute of limitations had expired.
But rather than pursue Maskell to Ireland with the evidence they already had, the American police simply dropped the investigation.
‘I believe that Cathy Cesnik was murdered by someone she knew,’ Wehner says in The Keepers.
‘Cathy was killed because she was going to talk about what went on and I believe there was more than one person who was afraid she was going to out them. They used her death to keep me quiet.’
Today, Lancaster believes there are other victims. ‘Maskell was a psychopath, and possibly a serial killer,’ she says.
‘At least four other girls went missing around that time, or were found murdered. I’m just glad he didn’t kill me.’
Cathy's Ford Maverick, which she had recently purchased, was found not far from her apartment – parked illegally in a no parking area and unlocked
THE ARMCHAIR DETECTIVES
Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub both attended the school at the time of Sister Cathy’s murder. Although they were not abused, both have been troubled for years by the disappearance of their popular English teacher.
In 2013, they began interviewing scores of former pupils and chased down dozens of leads.
They also started a ‘Justice for Cathy Cesnik’ Facebook page.
Netflix filmmaker Ryan White (whose aunt had been a pupil of Cesnik’s) heard about their investigation and has made them central figures in The Keepers.
Maskell threatened his victims with expulsion, reform school and even death if they exposed his depravity
THE MAIN SUSPECT
Blue-eyed, broad-shouldered and charismatic, Father Joseph Maskell had a graduate degree in psychology from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University and worked as a psychological and spiritual counsellor at Archbishop Keough High School.
He is described by his victims as a sadistic rapist who carried a gun, drank beer and socialised with friends of his police officer brother, Tommy.
More than 30 women would eventually accuse the priest of molestation.
He returned to the US in 1998 when the Irish Church authorities discovered the allegations against him. Maskell died in Towson, Maryland, in 2001, still denying all the abuse claims.
THE OTHER SUSPECTS
Maskell’s body was recently exhumed and his DNA compared against a discarded cigarette end found near Sister Cathy’s body. The DNA did not match.
The show points the finger of suspicion at several other men, including a mysterious figure called ‘Father Bob’ (an unidentified priest who one victim says had ‘confessed’ to the killing) and several serving Baltimore police officers who allegedly took part in the sex abuse ring.
Cathy’s former boyfriend, Jesuit priest Gerry Koob, had begged her to quit the Church and marry him.
He had an alibi but former Baltimore murder cop Harry Bannon says: ‘I’m sure Koob knew more than he was telling.’
Sister Cathy’s gay neighbour Billy Schmidt confessed to family members that he was involved, then committed suicide.
Another neighbour, Edgar Davidson, returned home in a blood-stained shirt and told his wife: ‘By the time they find her body, it’s going to be winter time. She’s going to be buried in snow.’
He tells filmmakers he made up the story to attract attention.
THE DEEP THROAT
An anonymous former detective called Deep Throat appears off-camera on The Keepers, his voice distorted.
He claims that in 1994 investigators received a tip-off saying Maskell had ordered a cemetery grounds keeper to dig a hole where he buried boxes of files.
Deep Throat claims that police found scores of nude photographs of young girls. The files subsequently ‘disappeared’.
THE SILENT CHURCH
Filmmaker Ryan White, who was brought up as a Catholic, says the Church refused multiple requests to unseal evidence in the case.
An autopsy revealed Cathy Cesnik had been struck on the back of her head, there was a hole the size of a quarter in her skull, and there were strangulation marks on her neck
For the series, White interviews a man who claims that he was assaulted by Maskell at a boys’ school in Baltimore. Maskell was transferred to Keough High School after his mother complained.
When White tells him that the Catholic Church claims not to have known that Maskell was a paedophile, the man sits in stunned silence, before adding: ‘If they had done something when my mother complained, then there wouldn’t have been any murder.’
A SAFE HAVEN FOR ABUSE
Maskell, whose father was from Limerick, remained in Ireland for four years until 1998, conducting Mass in churches around the village of Castlebridge.
The Catholic diocese of Ferns says it received no complaints of abuse by Maskell during his time there and launched its own enquiries when he was seen ‘in full clerical garb in public,’ says diocese spokesman Rev. John Carroll.
When the diocese learned Maskell had been defrocked, they say they asked him to stop ministering in public. But the diocese refuses to release its files on Maskell, citing a policy that allows inspection only by ‘statutory and church governing bodies’.
‘All of this should be public information,’ says victims’ lawyer Suder. ‘If there are victims of Maskell’s sex abuse in Ireland, they have the right to know.’