The release of a Netflix series exploring the unsolved death of a Catholic nun and her potential knowledge of institutional sexual abuse committed at the hands of priest A. Joseph Maskell has rallied justice-seekers, who are calling for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release files on the priest at the center of the story, the Baltimore Sun reported. "The Keepers" led to the creation of an online petition on change.org, urging church officials to publish its files on Maskell, who died in 2001.
So far, the petition features more than 11,000 signatures.
"The release of these documents will restore public trust in the Archdiocese, and confirm the Archdiocese statements regarding their handling of the sexual abuse claims," the petition read. It also noted that a disclosure would help investigate "all avenues that may have led to the murder of Cathy Cesnik in 1969."
Maskell denied abuse allegations before his death and was never charged. But his death didn't bring to an end the controversy. Since 2011, the archdiocese paid $472,000 in settlements to more than a dozen people who accused him of abuse.
Series director Ryan White said producers repeatedly asked for the files while working on the documentary.
"I just feel like it shows no concern for the community healing, no sign of transparency at all."
In the seven-episode series, "The Keepers" explores the theory that Cesnik, a nun who taught at Archbishop Keough and Western High, was murdered because she knew about Maskell's abuse.
In a statement, archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said that records concerning Maskell "are confidential." He further explained that Archdiocesan policy and state law prohibits the release of personal confidential information, such as the names of alleged sexual abuse victims, personnel records, health records, attorney-client communications, etc.