real life

Every question we have after watching the finale of 'The Keepers'.

Content warning: Some of the themes and scenes discussed are confronting.

Readers, I have just finished the final episode of The Keepers, Netflix’s investigative documentary series into the 1969 Baltimore murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik.

And man oh man do I have a lot of unresolved feelings about it.

While the work of ex-Archbishop Keogh High School students Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Fitzgerald Schaub was nothing short of admirable, I have found myself roaming the world listlessly since the credits on episode seven rolled on my lazy Tuesday afternoon.


Ahem. Excuse me.

Listen: Why you need to watch The Keepers. Post continues after audio…

Almost 50 years later, and with the murder of both Sister Cesnik and local 20-year-old woman Joyce Malecki still unresolved, here are the things that have made me blurt out ‘Wah?!’ more times than I’d like to admit within the last 24 hours.

What did police detectives hand Gerry Koob?

Okay, I’m sorry but we need to get this out of the way before anything else. This was quite possibly the most traumatic claim I’ve ever heard.

For those who missed it (you could not have missed it), let me recap.

According to Koob – one of the former suspects in his 26-year-old friend’s murder – in the days following Sister Cathy’s disappearance, he was the victim of a cruel and deeply unethical stunt carried out by Baltimore police.

Koob claims that while being interrogated about Cesnik’s murder, a detective left the interviewing room only to reappear with a mass wrapped in newspaper, and flung it to him across the table. Inside the paper, he says, was part of Sister Cathy’s reproductive anatomy.

Not only is this a wildly disturbing claim, if true it could mean police tampered with a body.

Gerry Koob. (Image: Netflix)

Commentary on Reddit is similarly horrified, although many believed Koob, then a priest, was manipulated into believing what was wrapped in the newspaper was something it wasn't under the 'Good cop, Bad cop' tactics sometimes employed in the 1960s and 70s.

If you ask the internet, what Koob was handed was most likely to be a spare cut from the local butcher, not a part of Sister Cathy's body, which makes me feel ever-so-slightly better about the world.


But still not really.

Where are the files Father John Maskell buried in the graveyard and Sister Cathy's letter to her sister?

I'll keep this short... but where the bloody hell are the files wrapped in plastic? And where is the letter Sister Cathy sent to her younger sister, Marilyn?

The police's claims that losing files and evidence was a result of moving to 'digitised records' is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

Who on earth is 'Brother Bob'?

According to sex abuse victim Jean Hargadon Wehner, who accused Father Maskell of orchestrating a powerful and pervasive paedophile ring, the murderer of Sister Cathy was a fellow priest, who was referred to by the pseudonym 'Brother Bob'.

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Identified as aloof, unpredictable, and incredibly dangerous, the only things we know about the faceless 'Bob' is that he supposedly had scars along his abdominal region.

While Wehner said she does not want to be shown images of other priests who served in the area in the late 60s and early 70s because she wants her repressed memories to come back authentically, would other women who attended Keogh be willing to identify the man who often entered school grounds?

How did the Baltimore Archdiocese keep Charles Franz's accusations hidden for so many years?

This is something that really played on my mind after the finale episode concluded. If the church went to 1967 abuse survivor Charles Franz with a goal of buying his silence in the 1990s - an offer he said he refused - how did information of his abuse not come out until now?

Charles' mother reported his abuse as a boy, two years before Sister Cathy's murder. (Image: Netflix)

Since the revelation that the church had the evidence at their disposal to put Father Maskell away, could there be legal consequences for the church, given they told Wehner they needed someone to corroborate her evidence?

And, finally, how could a religious organisation be so hellbent on destroying the lives of children?

Sure, this is a rhetorical question, but I am still appalled at how the Archdiocese in Baltimore insisted on protecting paedophiles and murderers at the expense of the most vulnerable members of society.

It's inexcusable. And I don't think the many demons that played a role in this twisted tale will leave my mind for a very long time.

What questions do you have after watching The Keepers?

Tags: child-abuse , facebook-rogue
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