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'The Keepers' Delves Into Father Maskell's Life

The story told in The Keepers is a painful one. Its tale of alleged sexual assault within the Catholic high school Archbishop Keough is told by the countless women who survived it, the trauma of their time there still evident nearly 50 years later. Father Joseph Maskell emerged as the main perpetrator, though he was never convicted and denied the allegations all the way up until his death in 2001. So how old was Father Maskell when he died?

Maskell was 62 years old at the time of his death in 2001. During his tenure at Keough, he had been in his late 20s to early 30s, but the allegations of abuse didn't surface until two decades later. In the interim, Maskell served at several Baltimore churches and worked for the Division of Schools. Then from 1992 to 1994, the abuse allegations began to make their way to the public. One of the former students from Keough, Jean Wehner (though she was first referred to as Jane Doe), shared her story first, but as she moved forward with a lawsuit against Maskell, she was supported by many former students who either had similar stories to report or had heard about what what had been going on.

Maskell was 55 years old when Wehner came forward. Though he was eventually removed from his priestly duties in light of the allegations against him, he faced little in the way of consequences. A 1994 article from the Baltimore Sun claimed Maskell left his parish to seek psychological treatment for the "anxiety and stress caused by a criminal investigation of the sex-abuse allegations and a pending lawsuit." However, he eventually ended up fleeing to Ireland.

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The lawsuit, filed by Wehner and former Keough student Teresa Lancaster, was eventually thrown out on a technicality. It had exceeded the statute of limitations and the judge did not feel there were grounds to reinstate it even though Wehner had seemed to only recently regain her memories of the alleged abuse. Last year, many of Maskell's victims received settlements from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, though by then Maskell was long dead.

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It's unclear whether Maskell served at any churches during his time in Ireland, but the Irish Mirror reported that he worked as a psychologist in private practice. Maskell returned to Baltimore in 1998, passing away a few years later. He never faced charges again.