Why Wasn't Father Maskell Ever Charged? 'The Keepers' Explores The Barriers In Detail
Despite being a man of the cloth, Baltimore priest Father Joseph Maskell's alleged abuses are anything but Godly. Over the course of his years serving as a Catholic priest, it is alleged that Maskell abused and assaulted upwards of 30 young female students. So how did a man who allegedly abused so many others enjoy his life a free man without so much as a trial? Netflix's The Keepers explores the reasons why Father Maskell was never charged with a crime.
In many cases allegations of sexual assault past the statute of limitations little can be done; the statutes of limitations in Maryland, where Maskell worked, are "within seven years from the victim’s 18th birthday [in childhood cases], and three years from the event for adult cases," end up not being enough for legal criminal charges. These statutes of limitations got in the way of a civil case against Maskell in the early '90s, in which victims sought to bring him to justice themselves, but it was enough to start a new investigation into the matter.
Maskell is just one of many cases throughout history of the word of one powerful man managing to survive numerous allegations from women, but that doesn't mean that police weren't actively trying to find a reason to bring Maskell in. When an anonymous detective who goes by the moniker Deep Throat began investigating Maskell and his connection to the death of Cathy Ann Cesnik, he claims he received a troubling call from one of his superiors telling him to stay off the case. As Deep Throat claims to The Huffington Post, the superior allegedly told him "This is a career buster. We knew who the hell killed her back when it happened, and you’ll find out, and you’re gonna find out things you shouldn’t find out. Let it go."
In response to the resurgence of questions surrounding the Cesnik case thanks to The Keepers, the Baltimore Police Department released the following statement:
Despite numerous pieces of testimony, including a harrowing allegation from one victim who claimed Maskell showed her Cesnik's body as a threat, there was allegedly not enough physical evidence to bring any charges against Maskell.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore also released the following statement to Bustle regarding Father Maskell and the claims surrounding the Catholic priest, as shown in The Keepers:
Maskell died in 2001, never facing a criminal charge related to the allegations against him. Maskell denied the allegations until his death, and told the Baltimore Sun in 1994 that "I never had sex with a kid ... It is absolutely untrue."