If you’ve watched “The Keepers,” on Netflix, chances are you have some questions about Sister Cathy Cesnik’s unsolved killing and the allegations of sexual assault at Baltimore-based Archbishop Keough High School.
Fortunately, director Ryan White turned to the social networking site Reddit on Thursday for an “AMA” (short for ask me anything), where he answered fans’ questions about Netflix’s new seven-part production.
Here are eight tidbits from White’s AMA.
1. The Archdiocese of Baltimore showed up. A user named ArchBalt, presumably, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, chimed in when White mentioned that he wished the Archdiocese would release their internal records on Rev. Joseph Maskell, who was at the center of the abuse allegations detailed in the show.
“Archdiocesan records related to Maskell are confidential, and Archdiocesan policy and state law would preclude us from disclosing much of the information in them as they include confidential personal information (e.g. names of alleged sexual abuse victims), personnel records, health records, attorney-client communications, personally identifying information (such as social security numbers), etc.,” ArchBalt wrote.
White responded, saying that the series would allow the Archdiocese to redact any personal info on the records, and would still welcome the release of any documents. The ArchBalt account did not respond to White’s subsequent comment.
2. Overall, 35 survivors were interviewed for “The Keepers,” but not all of them were included in the final version. “We, as a policy, always valued a survivor's anonymity more than anything else,” White said. “If they did not want to go on the record, we never pressured them.” Additional victims have come forward following the documentary’s release May 19, he said.
3. White believes Jane Doe, but understands that fans will have different theories on what happened. “I spent three years with [Jane Doe] corroborating her stories time after time after time,” he said. “That means Maskell was involved in some way in engineering Cathy’s murder.”
But when a Reddit user asked White what he think happened and who was involved overall, he was more coy. “What was so fascinating to me about this story is that my theory was different than everybody else’s,” he said. “What we tried to do was responsibly present the information in the way that we were hearing it, so that you as the audience member can decide what version of the truth you believe.”
4. The problem could go beyond Baltimore. According to White, the Irish press is conducting further research on Maskell’s time there.“I'm very afraid of what they're finding out,” he said. “This is the issue with moving priests around. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just moves it to another location.”
5. The series documented another killing that didn’t make the final version. “One case that we did document for the series but didn't end up making the final cut is the murder in 1971 of a young girl in Baltimore named Grace Montanye,” White said. “We worked closely with her family and they were lovely and the murder is tragic and compelling on many levels -- I hope there can be some follow-up and closure on that case as well.”
6. The best part of filming was “working with all of the survivors.” “They are all so brave to face their fears and horrific pasts and I’m so thankful they trusted me to tell their stories,” White said. “I hope that ‘The Keepers’ fosters conversation, awareness, and some sort of accountability and justice, even if it continues to be outside the court system.”
7. A second season is unlikely. “Our plan as of now is not to do a season 2,” said White. “But we are following along with all of the developments. … Either way, I do hope the series leads to answers.”
8. One of White’s favorite true crime stories that he didn’t work on is the “S-Town” podcast, from the team behind “Serial.” “I love character portraits, and I think they did an amazing job of balancing mystery with humanity,” White said. “John Macklemore should go down as one of the most rich and fascinating documentary subjects ever.”
To read White’s entire AMA click here. You can also read Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik’s interview with White from before the series premiered here.