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The Keepers

In May 2017, a series was released on Netflix entitled The Keepers. This seven-episode series took an in-depth look at the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik; the case has remained unsolved since her body was found in July 1970. As a teacher of English and drama at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland, Cesnik developed close relationships with many of her students. In doing so, she had begun to hear rumors that two priests – Father Joseph Maskell and Father E. Neil Magnus – were sexually assaulting female students and trafficking other female students to other priests. The KeepersThough accounts are uncorroborated, some witnesses suggest that Cesnik questioned them directly about this abuse, asking if priests were hurting them. According to this testimony, Cesnik also went missing before she was able to testify what she had witnessed in the weeks and months prior to the disappearance of the first young woman.

Constructing the timeline of the events chronicled in The Keepers has proven to be difficult, both due to the advanced age or death of those who played an active role in the narrative decades ago, and due to the lack of concrete evidence in support of the narrative put forth by witnesses. Cesnik’s vehicle was seen illegally parked well into the evening hours surrounding her disappearance; a box of items from a local bakery was found on the front seat of her vehicle. However, the area in which her car was found would suggest that walking away was not an option. What is known is that Cesnik died from an intracerebral hemorrhage following blunt force trauma to her temple and a fracture to her skull. Ultimately, the Netflix series The Keepers served to renew interest in and FBI pressure on this (and other) case.

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