Netflix’s true crime documentary series The Keepers is generating calls for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to make a deceased priest’s files available to the public.
The Baltimore Sun reports that an online petition pushing for the church to release its files on priest A. Joseph Maskell has cracked 11,000 signatures. Maskell is featured heavily in the 2017 series where he is a central figure in the exploration into the abuse at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School and the unsolved 1969 homicide of Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik. Maskell denied the abuse allegations placed against him right up to his death in 2001.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore holds documents regarding sexual abuse claims against A. Joseph Maskell,” states the change.org petition. “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 is calling for transparency regarding the manner in which abuse claims were treated and the goal is to use the corresponding information to further investigate “all avenues that may have led to the murder of Cathy Cesnik.” The Keepers director Ryan White has indicated that producers attempted to acquire files from the archdiocese for the series but were denied on multiple occasions.
Sean Caine, an archdiocese spokesperson, responded to calls for the release of files in a statement declaring the requested material to be “confidential.”
“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,” said Caine.
The Baltimore Sun notes that other dioceses in similar situations have released their files, albeit with select information redacted.
(Via The Baltimore Sun)