Who Is Brother Bob In 'The Keepers'? Jean Wehner Thinks He Could Be The Key To Sister Cathy's Murder
While Father Joseph Maskell is the priest who is discussed the most in The Keepers, there were many others accused of sexual abuse at Keough High School. (According to the Baltimore Sun, Maskell denied the accusations until his death in 2001.) Jean Hargadon Wehner, one of the most outspoken women against the priest, also discusses a Brother Bob in The Keepers. In the second episode of the Netflix documentary about the murder of nun Sister Cathy Cesnick and the string of sexual assaults that the show theorizes could have led to her death (Wehner claims Cesnik knew about the abuse and her murder was a cover up), Wehner claims a Brother Bob allegedly raped her in Father Maskell's office. Later in the series, she alleges that he said he was the one who murdered Sister Cathy. So who is Brother Bob and could he be the key to solving this 40-year-old murder? Unfortunately, as The Keepers shows, his true identity is still unknown because Wehner believes Brother Bob could have just been a pseudonym used by Maskell.
As she claims in The Keepers, Wehner's alleged abuse at Archbishop Keough High School started when she went to confession with Father Neil Magnus. She claims she told the Catholic priest about experiencing sexual abuse when she was younger. Her story alleges that Magnus took advantage of this knowledge by saying God could not forgive her for this, and that he allegedly sexually abused her under the pretense that he was "healing" her. Magnus died in 1988 before Wehner ever came forward with her allegations in the '90s. Bustle reached out to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Baltimore who employed both Magnus and Maskell and oversaw Keough. The Church had this to say about allegations against Magnus: "An allegation of abuse against any priest or anyone representing the Church is deeply troubling and sad. We feel shame and regret for anyone victimized and offer them our sincere prayers and support."
Wehner claims that Father Maskell would join in on this abuse and eventually allegedly took over — as he was the chaplain and counselor at Keough. (Although no sexual abuse charges were ever brought against Maskell before he died in 2001, Newsweek reports that the Archdiocese of Baltimore eventually removed him from his position because of the "credible allegations against him." Wehner also received $50,000 in a settlement with the Archdiocese.) The Archdiocese also issued this lengthy statement acknowledging the accusations against Maskell.
Since the 1990s, when the Archdiocese of Baltimore first learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse against Maskell, and on numerous occasions since, the Archdiocese has publicly acknowledged and apologized for the horrific abuse committed by him. The Archdiocese reported the allegations to civil authorities in the 1990s and cooperated fully in any investigation, removed Father Maskell’s faculties to function as a priest, apologized to victims and offered them counseling assistance, sought additional victims, and provided direct financial assistance to 16 individuals abused by Maskell.
Though it was unaware of the abuse at the time it occurred approximately 50 years ago, the Archdiocese deeply regrets the damage that was caused to those who were so badly harmed and has worked diligently since becoming aware of their abuse to bring some measure of healing to them. The Archdiocese is wholly committed to protecting children, holding abusers accountable — clergy and laity alike, and promoting healing for victims. These are hallmarks of the Archdiocese’s child protection efforts, which we strive to constantly strengthen.
There is no room in the Archdiocese for anyone who would harm a child and every effort must be made to ensure what happened before never happens again. It is our hope that The Keepers advances this pursuit, just as we hope the series helps those who have kept alive the memory of Sr. Cathy and our collective hope that justice will be won for her.
Beyond Wehner claiming she was sexually assaulted by these two priests, she alleged that Maskell started introducing other men into the alleged abuse. According to Wehner, one of these men went by the name Brother Bob. Wehner says in the series, "I don't know that Bob was his real name or if it was just a pseudonym that Maskell gave him."
Wehner's story of Brother Bob is particularly horrifying since she describes him as a volatile, loose cannon who was out of control. She alleges that he raped her from behind and when he wasn't pulling out, Father Maskell allegedly stopped him so as not to get Wehner pregnant. Before The Keepers, Wehner discussed Brother Bob to the Huffington Post, claiming she was raped by other men who were referred to by these generic names, including a Brother Ed and a Brother Ted. But the Netflix documentary also addresses that Wehner thinks that Brother Bob is responsible for Sister Cathy's death.
At the end of the fourth episode, Wehner alleges that Brother Bob told her that although he didn't want to, he killed Sister Cathy. Whether this was the truth or a tactic to keep her from telling anyone about the alleged abuse is unknown. But Wehner claims that after Father Maskell left her alone with Brother Bob in his office one day, Brother Bob allegedly said he killed Sister Cathy. "To this day, I'm more terrified of Brother Bob than I have ever been of Joseph Maskell because I don't know who this Brother Bob is," Wehner says in the documentary. "I don't remember the man's face and I have no idea if he's still out there."
In the final episode of The Keepers, Wehner claims she is remembering more details of Brother Bob as time goes on — like how he had markings on his abdomen. She also claims he said he knew Sister Cathy Cesnik and that he allegedly hit Cesnik when she allegedly told him she would be going to the police about the sexual abuse. According to Wehner, he allegedly said he didn't mean to kill her, but did. Wehner says that she can't force herself to recollect more about this mysterious figure.
The amateur investigators at the center of The Keepers — Abbie Shaub and Gemma Hoskins — theorize how Brother Bob could be a number of people. Shaub and Hoskins claim that Father Maskell was connected to a circle of men who were powerful and possibly would have protected him. With Wehner never knowing who this man really was and the murder taking place in 1969, the truth about Brother Bob may never come out. But The Keepers is trying its best to solve this dark story and if Brother Bob exists, maybe his real identity will be discovered one day.