Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. When the final bell rang at 2: It was not unusual for Maskell to give students rides home or take them to doctor's appointments during the school day.
The burly, charismatic priest, then 30 years old, had been the chief spiritual and psychological counselor at Keough for two years and was well-known in the community. He'd baptized their babies, and they trusted him implicitly. This time, though, Maskell didn't bring Wehner home. Eventually, he stopped at a garbage dump, far from any homes or businesses.
Maskell stepped out of the car, and the blonde, freckled teenager followed him across a vast expanse of dirt toward a dark green dumpster. It was then that she saw the body crumpled on the ground. The week prior, Sister Cathy Cesnik, a popular young nun who taught English and drama at Keough, had vanished while on a Friday-night shopping trip. People from all over Baltimore County helped the police comb local parks and wooded areas for any sign of her.
Wehner immediately recognized the lifeless body as her teacher. Wehner tried to brush them off with her bare hands. Instead, she says, the priest leaned down behind her and whispered in her ear: She decided not to tell anyone. Jean Wehner in Jean Wehner Two months later, the police announced that a pair of hunters passing through a dump outside of Baltimore had stumbled upon the body of the missing nun.
Cesnik had choke marks on her neck and a round hole about the size of a quarter in the back of her skull. An autopsy confirmed she had been killed by a blow from a blunt object, probably a brick or a ball-peen hammer.
But no one came forward with information about the murder, and the police never solved it. And a group of them has launched their own investigation in hopes of answering the questions that continue to vex the police: Who killed Sister Cathy -- and why? Gemma Hoskins set a bowl of Doritos and a plate of sugar cookies on her dark wooden coffee table and passed out typed copies of the January meeting agenda.
One by one, her guests took their places around the oriental rug in her pale-yellow living room. Tom Nugent, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, secured a prime spot in the wooden rocking chair in the corner.
Teresa Lancaster, a Keough alum and Baltimore-area attorney, sat next to her husband, Randy, on the oatmeal-colored sofa. Hoskins and another former Keough student, Abbie Schaub, pulled up chairs from the dining room to form a circle.
Hoskins, 62, is spirited and irreverent, with cropped, dyed red hair and a tendency to carry around snacks for people -- a habit that's lingered since her days as a Harford County "Teacher of the Year. Hoskins was a senior at Keough in when Cesnik disappeared.
Now, she is at the center of the effort to find out who killed her. Gemma Hoskins right , is a retired elementary school teacher who attended Keough from Abbie Schaub left is a retired registered nurse who attended Keough from She is working with Hoskins to investigate the murder. The nun played guitar and wrote musicals for the girls to perform on stage.
She invented creative vocabulary games to push the girls to teach each other new, obscure words. Cesnik lived in a modest apartment in Southwest Baltimore with another nun, and her students would occasionally drop by in the evenings or on weekends to chat, sing and play music. When she hadn't returned home by 11 p.
Later that night, Cesnik's brand-new green Ford Maverick was found unlocked and illegally parked a block from her apartment, even though she had a designated parking spot behind the building.
There was no sign of the nun anywhere. Area newspapers followed the case closely. The man assigned to investigate Cesnik's disappearance was Nick Giangrasso, a year-old homicide detective who had worked in the Baltimore City Police Department for five years.
Giangrasso led the investigation for the three months Cesnik was missing, then had to turn the case over to Baltimore County detectives when her body was found outside the city limits. But Giangrasso, now 72, spent enough time on the case to feel like something suspicious was going on between the police department and the church. It had to be somebody who knew her. He said it was clear to him from the fact that her car had been deposited back at her apartment complex without any signs of struggle that she had not been the victim of a random robbery or assault.
Koob, now a year-old Methodist minister living in New Jersey with his wife, was in a romantic relationship with Cesnik at the time. Two years earlier, before he was ordained and before she had taken her final vows, he had asked her to marry him. She turned him down, but they continued to spend time together and write each other love letters. And three days before Cesnik disappeared, Koob called her from a Catholic retreat to tell her he still loved her.
He was prepared to leave the priesthood for her and hoped she'd leave the nunhood for him. The police brought Koob in for questioning, but he had an alibi for the night that Cesnik disappeared. He and a fellow priest had gone to dinner in downtown Baltimore and watched "Easy Rider" at a movie theater afterward.
He produced receipts and ticket stubs and passed two lie detector tests. Harry Bannon, another retired Baltimore City homicide investigator, told the Baltimore City Paper in that he thought Koob knew more about the murder than he was admitting, but that the church forced him to back off the priest.
And we were told, 'Either charge Koob with a crime or let him go. Still, Giangrasso, who retired from the police force in , had a gut feeling that Cesnik had been murdered by someone with ties to the church. Giangrasso interviewed half a dozen priests who knew Cesnik as his investigation continued, and there was one in particular whose name kept coming up: Father Maskell, who worked with Cesnik at Keough.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is the oldest in the United States, and the church considers it to be the premier Catholic jurisdiction in the country. According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Baltimore City prosecutors have charged only three of the 37 Baltimore priests who have been accused of sexual abuse since Just two of those priests were convicted, and one of those convictions was overturned in Maskell in particular was a difficult target.
Bob Fisher, the owner of an automotive repair shop in southwest Baltimore where Maskell took his car on his days off, remembers the priest boasting about his police privileges to anyone who would listen. Going after Maskell would mean violating the unwritten rules by which the police operated.
The Baltimore City police did not respond to a request for comment. Nevertheless, he had to turn the case over to Baltimore County police. The county police never charged anyone. The Baltimore Sun The case remained cold for two decades. Identified in court documents at the time only as "Jane Doe" and "Jane Roe," the women accused Maskell of raping them when they were students at Keough. The women were too afraid of Maskell and his old police friends to use their real names back then.
Their names are Jean Wehner and Teresa Lancaster. Investigators were initially skeptical of her claim that Cesnik had maggots on her face, because maggots are usually not present in cold November temperatures. Wehner said that for decades, she had buried most of her memories of what went on at Keough.
Maskell and Magnus in the Keough yearbook. She says she avoided thinking and talking about the abuse while her Catholic mother was alive, because she knew the information would devastate her. Survivors sometimes misremember details of traumatizing events. But it was hardly immune to the s counterculture. Former Keough students said that in Maskell's office and in the nearby rectory, where he lived, the priest offered the girls a relaxed, open-minded environment where they could talk freely about sex and drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes on his red velour sofa and ask for help dealing with their traditional Catholic parents.
At the peak of the sexual revolution, Maskell was well positioned to exploit the experimental and rebellious atmosphere of the late s and early s. In a confusing time, he offered an intoxicating cocktail of spiritual guidance, hypnosis, booze, pills and himself.
Maskell was a charismatic young man in his late 20s when he started at Keough as chaplain in , two years after it opened. Broad-shouldered, with light blue eyes, the Irish-descended priest also served as the school's psychological counselor.
He later earned an advanced degree in psychology from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. Former Keough students said Maskell used his charm, psychology training and moral authority to first disarm the young girls, then to manipulate them into sexual relationships. He targeted struggling or badly behaved students -- Hoskins and Schaub, who got straight As, said he never bothered them -- asking the girls if they were having problems at home, or if they had been sexually active with their boyfriends or used drugs.
Her parents had found a marijuana joint in her bag, she said, and they didn't approve of the long-haired boy she was dating. It was the middle of the school day, and Maskell invited her into his office and shut the door behind her. He then proceeded to strip her clothes off and forced her to sit on his lap, naked. Indeed, Lancaster believed for a short time that she was in a romantic relationship with the priest.
When I found out other people were going in there, I wondered if he loved all of them, too. Once or twice, she said, he smacked her around and showed her the loaded handgun he kept in his desk at school. The priest turned to her in the confessional, quizzed her on the details of the abuse, and began masturbating as she talked, she said.
Soon, Maskell began calling Wehner out of class and into his office without Magnus, she said. He would show her pornography, tell her that he was trying to help God forgive her for the abuse she suffered as a child, and rape her.
She claims she was abused by Maskell and others. Teresa Lancaster The women recall that Maskell had a gynecologist friend, Dr. Lancaster claims Maskell took her to see Richter for a pregnancy test and then raped her on the table while Richter performed a breast exam. Fisher, the auto repair shop owner, said Maskell boasted about taking high school girls to the gynecologist when he dropped his car off at the shop in the afternoons.
She probably had a good deal of faith in him.