This Is What Happens When the Archdiocese Shows Up in Ryan White's The Keepers Reddit AMA

Murder and sexual abuse are the key topics of the Netflix documentary series

By Chris Harnick May 25, 2017 8:08 PMTags
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If you watched The Keepers, the Netflix documentary series from Ryan White that examines the death of Sister Cathy Cesnik and the alleged abuse former students of hers said they suffered at the hands of Father Joseph Maskell, then you probably still have many questions. So does White.

A lot of those questions are for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which declined to have anybody appear in the series on their behalf. Instead, they answered questions via email and White read them to participants who said they suffered abuse at the hands of Father Maskell. During a Reddit AMA, White was asked, "Who would you most like to talk to, still living, that you think has information?"

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White answered: "The Archdiocese! They have internal records on Maskell. I would love for them to be transparent and show the world what they have. I'm especially interested to see the files on the investigation they supposedly did in the 1990s after Jane Doe came forward. Jean's family found dozens of victims just by sending out a letter in the mail, so I'm confused on what this Archdiocese ‘investigation' involved."

In the series, the Archdiocese said they had no reports of Maskell's misconduct or abuse until Jane Doe came forward in the 1990s. Their answer seemingly contradicted the story of Charles Franz, who said Maskell abused him before the abuse took place at Jane Doe's high school in the late 1960s. Franz said he told his mother, who told the church, and even had a meeting with church officials in the 1990s.

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Then the Archdiocese of Baltimore crashed White's AMA and responded to him (they've also been active on Twitter).

"Archdiocesan records related to Maskell are confidential, and Archdiocesan policy and state law would preclude us from disclosing much of the information in them as they include confidential personal information (e.g. names of alleged sexual abuse victims), personnel records, health records, attorney-client communications, personally identifying information (such as social security numbers), etc.," ArchBalt said. That's also the Archdiocese's Twitter handle.

White continued the thread.

"Hi, Archdiocese. This is the response you sent when we asked for the records initially, and we responded that you could of course redact all personal information like names of survivors and social security numbers. We would still welcome the records with that information redacted and I think it would show transparency and support, but you continue to say no," he said. "Maybe at least release the files from the 1990s investigation to show a sincere effort was made—since the investigation came up empty-handed, I would assume it has minimal personal information."

The Archdiocese has posted a number of items, including videos and letters, on its website about the documentary. The Keepers has also set up a page for survivor resources.

Get more on the saga in The Keepers, now streaming on Netflix.

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