It’s been almost five decades since 26-year-old nun and teacher Sister Cathy Cesnik was senselessly murdered back in 1969 — and to this day, those closest to her are still looking for answers when it comes to her death.
After her body — which was covered with choke marks on her neck and a hole in the back of her head — was discovered in a dump by a group of hunters, people immediately pointed fingers at a priest named Father Joseph Maskell, who worked at the Archbishop Keough High School with Sister Cathy, after it was revealed that he was sexually molesting, abusing, and raping the young women at the school, many of whom confided in Sister Cathy about the harassment.
But after a group of Keough alums conducted their own investigation into Sister Cathy’s disappearance and murder — which will be the focus of the upcoming Netflix docu-series, The Series — they were able to reveal what they believe to be the truth: Not only is Maskell responsible, but he also wasn’t acting alone.
Sister Cathy’s close friend, Pastor Gerard Koob, exclusively tells In Touch that he believes Maskell hired a hitman — and that man is still alive today.
“I still think Maskell is the key person responsible for her death, but [he] arranged for her to be assassinated,” Pastor Koob tells In Touch exclusively. “She was killed because she knew too much.”
According to former students, he would “prey” on the young women who were in vulnerable situations by calling them into his office. Many of those students would confide in Sister Cathy, a 26-year-old teacher who was beloved by the students.
Despite many people believing Maskell is responsible, he was never charged with her murder prior to his death in 2001.
“I’m convinced the church was protecting him,” Nick Giangrasso — a former detective with the Baltimore Police Department’s Homicide Unit — tells In Touch. “Maskell was the No. 1 guy we wanted to talk to, but he was always busy and never available.”
Not only was he not charged with her murder, but he wasn’t punished for any of his other crimes either — although in 2010, the Archdiocese of Baltimore apologized to Maskell’s victims and paid them settlements out of court.
With the new-found interest in the case because of the Netflix series, Sister Cathy’s former students are still holding out hope that justice will one day be served.
“She was truly amazing, and she could have done so much more with her life, but it was cut short,” Gemma Hoskins, one of her former students, tells In Touch, adding that one day, things will be made right not only for Sister Cathy but also all of the victims. “These women do not deserve what happened to them.”