BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the 60s and 70s, Father Joseph Maskell, a counselor at Archbishop Keough High School, was accused of molesting dozens of students — mostly women.
A recent WJZ investigation revealed many of those victims confided in 26-year-old Sister Cathy Cesnik just before her shocking murder nearly 50 years ago.
“She confronted him and she lost her life for it,” says Teresa Lancaster.
Harsh accusations were told to WJZ by many of Maskell’s victims. We have spoken with two of those women, and now a third, Lancaster, is coming forward with a new bombshell.
She told WJZ she was abused not only by Father Maskell, but also by police officers.
“Father Maskell picked me up, took me to a wooded area where there was a lot of policemen gathered around, he left me in the backseat and two policemen abused me while Maskell stood next to the car,” she told WJZ’s Denise Koch.
Denise: “Two police officers raped you?”
Teresa: “Yes they did. Before I knew it there was a big man on top of me and then I thought that would be it and another policeman came in and I could hear Maskell in the distance talking and laughing.”
Denise: “How did they get away with this?”
Teresa: “Power and fear. Maskell was a police chaplain and he knew people in high places—that’s how they got away with it. They scared the living hell out of us.”
But how far was Father Maskell willing to go to keep his dirty secret?
WJZ has learned that the investigation into the killing of Sister Cathy focused for years on Father Maskell and an unnamed man, who shared victims.
Now, after nearly half a century, the case is getting new life.
“It’s not too late for victims to come forward,” said Elise Armacost, spokesperson for Baltimore County Police.
Baltimore County Police told WJZ they are once again conducting interviews in the murder of Sister Cathy.
They are still investigating if her death is connected to widespread sexual abuse.
Denise: “There are allegations by a number of the victims that officers — police officers — were involved in the abuse. Many even claim to have been raped by police officers.”
Elise Armacost: “We don’t know who these officers were, they’ve never been named, we don’t even know what jurisdictions that they may have belonged to.”
Lancaster says it’s unacceptable that more wasn’t done in the wake of Sister Cathy’s death. She was reported missing on November 7, 1969, and her decomposed body was discovered in January 1970.
Denise: “Maskell, of course, is dead. Whoever these officers were who raped you — we don’t know. Sister Cathy’s murder is unsolved. What do you hope could possibly happen next?”
Teresa: “Sister Cathy went to Father Maskell on behalf of the girls who were being abused. I think it’s obscene that not more was done about this murder. There’s so many things that coincide here — I don’t believe in coincidence.”