Monday, May 22, 2017

The Keepers docu-series

After I binged on the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I started flipping around on Netflix for something a little more thought provoking. My interest in true crime was piqued by a new Netflix docu-series titled The Keepers.

Netflix had huge success in 2015 when Making a Murderer was released, and the response to it from many people was a visible shake in our faith in the justice system. When we’re kids, we’re taught that if we do something bad, we’ll probably get caught, and there will be consequences to face. This series stirred up a lot of conversation in the audience about our justice system, and if it victimizes people who are easy targets, people who have prior offenses, or people in a certain economic/social classes, or people who have below average intelligence.

Most of the people I talked to about the series had hesitations about the central character Steven Avery; maybe he didn’t do it, but maybe he did. But almost everyone who watched the series seemed to feel that his nephew Brendan Dassey was tried and convicted for playing a role in a murder that he was innocent of. Dassey's confession was ruled as involuntary in 2016, and his conviction was overturned, but he remains incarcerated.

The Keepers isn't really the same type of true crime story; this one focuses more on the various kinds of cover-ups that occur when powerful institutes such as the Catholic church are involved. The Catholic church has been in the spotlight the last couple of decades for the widespread incidents and allegations of sexual abuse involving priests and young parishioners, and the first half of the episodes are mostly interviews with the victims of Father Joseph Maskell, a counselor at the Baltimore all-girls school Archbishop Kenough High School. The victims allege that Sister Cesnik, who was beloved by her students, knew about the abuse, and was murdered in order to prevent her from coming forward with the information.

The number one suspect seems to be Father Joseph Maskell, but as the series progresses, a larger cast of suspects emerges, suggesting that even though a handful of people knew who was responsible, nobody wanted to come forward for fear of being targeted themselves, or from being excommunicated or alienated from a religious community.

The murder occurred in 1969, so almost 50 years have passed, and yet a dedicated group of people, some former students, are seeking justice.

The interviews with the Maskell's victims are disturbing to listen to, so if you're the type of person who can't stand to watch The Magdalene Sisters, then this isn't a recommendation for you.

Right now, there is no physical evidence that links the priest to the unsolved murder. However, there does seem to be a significant number of allegations against Father Maskell, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore does have records of large sums of money paid to his accusers, and when the case gained interest again in the 1990's, he fled to Ireland. He stayed in Ireland until he died there in 2001.

I recommend this series for anyone who enjoyed Making a Murderer, or is a fan of true crime stories, or anyone who has an interest in the Catholic church: the iconography of it, as well as the scandals that have come to light in the past couple of decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment