Netflix's latest true crime project The Keepers borrows a little from the success of Making a Murderer and a little from the success of 2016 Oscar-winner Spotlight to make a compelling series about a nun who was mysteriously murdered nearly 50 years ago.
It promises a deep dive into the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Ann Cesnik — who taught high school English and drama in Baltimore before her gruesome death — and the people close to the case.
So who is Tom Nugent on The Keepers? He's a key player in the investigation.
Nugent is an investigative journalist who's been writing about Sister Cathy's murder since 1994, most notably in his sprawling Baltimore Sun City Paper investigative report "Who Killed Sister Cathy?" Since then, he's been writing updates on the case via his personal news blog, Inside Baltimore. Nugent has also written investigative features for Mother Jones, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post, as well as other pieces for The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Nation, MIT Technology Review, and Stanford University Magazine. He published a nonfiction book in 1973 titled Death at Buffalo Creek about a coal mining disaster in West Virginia, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination and a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Needless to say, Nugent's journalism chops make him a perfect asset for a Netflix docuseries like this one.
Part of the reason he's so crucial to the case is because of his conversations with two anonymous victims of the sex abuse by Father A. Joseph Maskell, a priest who worked as the guidance counselor at the high school where Sister Cathy taught. The victims both claimed to Nugent that Maskell took them to the spot where Sister Cathy's body had been dumped (before it discovered two months after her murder) as a means of intimidation to keep them from speaking out about their abuse. Said one of the victims to Nugent about the chilling incident, "Father Maskell leaned over and whispered in my ear, 'You see what happens when you say bad things about people.'"
Romper reached out to the Baltimore Archdiocese for a statement regarding the accusations against Father Maskell and his potential involvement in Cesnik's death. The spokesperson commented that:
So Maskell's involvement was never confirmed and he was never convicted of Cesnik's death.
Who Is Tom Nugent On 'The Keepers'? The Investigative Journalist Is A Key Player Mariella Mosthof May 19 2017
Il regista di The Keepers: «La Chiesa ha insabbiato l'omicidio di suor Cathy» MARGHERITA CORSI 20 MAY, 2017
15 years after Boston investigation, still work to do with clergy abuse Danae King The Columbus Dispatch May 22, 2017
Cardinal George Pell and his supporters, such as Tony Abbott, claim that the latest police investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse are part of an ongoing witch-hunt against him.
But given the scale of the sexual and physical atrocities that went on for so many decades, the tens of thousands of lives ruined, the untold numbers of suicides, self-harm and drug abuse, it has to be said that the church has got off remarkably lightly. Its authorities, including Pell, have no serious grounds for complaint.
Despite the widely documented crimes of Catholic institutions, no laws have been passed targeting Catholics. No special changes have been made to citizenship rules to make it more difficult for Catholic immigrants to become Australian citizens. No restrictions have been placed on the movements of Catholics or their ability to obtain passports.
There have been no council bans or vile campaigns against the building of churches or Catholic schools like there have been against the construction of mosques and Muslim schools. No calls by politicians or the press to ban the wearing of the religious attire of nuns – even though the traditional habit worn by Catholic (and Church of England) nuns was virtually the same as the burqa worn by some Muslim women.
No third degree interrogations by Australian Border Force of priests or nuns at airports. No confiscation of the funds of Catholic charities or investigations into how they spend their money. No bans on Catholic parishioners sending money to the Vatican. No Senate investigations (witch-hunts) into Catholic religious practices like the one into halal food certification that provided Cory Bernardi and other right wing bigots with a platform to further demonise Muslims.
Years ago, Catholics faced blatant discrimination in Australia. But that is no longer the case. ASIO and the state police stopped monitoring the sermons of Catholic priests and the content of religious classes in Catholic schools decades ago. Muslims are the target today.
The persecution of Muslims increases by the year, yet the number of lives destroyed in Australia by Muslim fundamentalists is absolutely minuscule compared to the tens of thousands of lives the Catholic Church authorities are responsible for destroying.
For untold decades, Catholic priests, brothers and nuns carried out systematic sexual abuse of children (leave aside the physical abuse of repeated canings, bashings and strappings), which was covered up by leading church officials such as bishop Ronald Mulkearns of Ballarat and archbishop Frank Little of Melbourne. They intimidated or bribed or refused to believe anyone – children, parents, teachers or conscientious priests and nuns – who dared to complain.
According to father Noel Brady, cardinal Pell was directly involved in trying to silence honest priests. Brady was assistant parish priest at St Mary’s in Dandenong (Melbourne) when, after meeting up with a number of the victims of sexual abuse, he decided to speak out.
“I spoke out about it at Dandenong in Mass in November 1992 and I was given a round of applause”, Brady told Fairfax journalist Louise Milligan. When he continued to speak out, Brady received a phone call from his superior, then bishop Pell, telling him to shut up about it.
The police and state authorities were heavily involved in the cover-ups and also did their bit to intimidate whistleblowers and victims of abuse. The police chiefs forced out or moved aside cops who wanted seriously to investigate allegations of abuse.
Of course it has not been just the Catholic Church. All around the world, virtually every supposedly respectable institution in capitalist society – the wealthy private schools, the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, the BBC, government-run orphanages, all the institutions in which people were supposedly being cared for by the state, innumerable charities, all the mainstream churches, the exclusive clubs of the rich, hospitals, the police force and the armed forces – have been involved in blatant ongoing sexual abuse and cover-ups.
Fundamentally, this reflects the enormous imbalance of power in our society between the mass of workers and the oppressed (especially children) and those who control and manage the key institutions of capitalist rule. The rich and powerful and their favourites, such as Rolf Harris, treat the rest of us as their playthings to push around, abuse and exploit. They close ranks to attempt to cover up scandals that might seriously harm their “reputation”.
Occasionally the scandal is so appalling that a few changes have to be made and a scapegoat or two offered up – but only to buttress a system whose continued existence ensures there will continue to be more such atrocities.
The Catholic Church has done more damage than ISIS MICK ARMSTRONG 22 MAY 2017