Priest's DNA doesn't match evidence in nun's slaying

Posted May 19, 2017

In February, police exhumed the body of the Rev. A. Joseph Maskell, the former chaplain at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, where Cesnik had taught. What happened to Sister Cathy? Years after Cesnik disappeared in November 1969, and was discovered in the Lansdowne area of Baltimore County in January 1970, a number of women came forward and accused Maskell of sexually abusing them while he was at Keough. She said detectives had obtained "about a half-dozen" DNA profiles and compared them to the crime scene. The 26-year-old nun had been missing for almost two months.

The laboratory results exclude Maskell as a contributor to DNA preserved from the crime scene. Some say he killed the 26-year-old after students told her about sexual abuse they'd suffered at Maskell's hands, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Authorities are evaluating DNA from Catholic priest A. Joseph Maskell, right, in the 47-year-old cold case of murdered nun Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik, left.

Maskell denied the accusations and was never charged.

As with Maskell, Armacost said: "The fact that the DNA profiles of the various suspects have not matched the crime scene evidence - it doesn't necessarily exonerate them". Police said Wednesday it did not. Loose ends at the end of the series include the question of what Sister Cathy's enigmatic roommate Sister Russell knew; the credibility of Gerry Koob, the former priest who wanted to marry the nun; and what to make of two unrelated women who both claim their uncles were involved in the murder. "So there are other theories we are looking at as well".

"We have never proven that Sister Cathy was killed because of her knowledge of abuse in the Roman Catholic church", police spokeswoman Elise Armacost says.

"The negative results from the Maskell DNA profile comparison mean that [the] best hope for solving the case now lies with people who are still alive and willing to come forward with conclusive information about the murder", police said Wednesday in a news release. White was drawn to these two grandmothers, who hadn't seen each other since high school but who've spent the last 10 years "driving a grassroots movement", doggedly researching and cobbling together clues, possible suspects (check out Schaub's chart of the case's main players, made with coffee filters!), and survivors' personal stories via their "Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki" Facebook page.