The Keepers
Sister Catherine Cesnik with her biological father. [Source:]

Used MK-ULTRA tactics, including psychological manipulation and the administration of drugs, in abusing victims

Investigators starring in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix documentary, The Keepers, interviewed many women and at least one man reporting that Father Joseph Maskell raped them, and appeared to play a part in the murder of teacher Cathy Cesnik.

After The Keepers aired in 2017, Cesnik’s student in 1969, Gemma Hoskins, and a former Baltimore Sun reporter, Tom Nugent, found that Maskell worked at the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade and reportedly sold sex with teen girls to police and politicians, using CIA’s MK-ULTRA techniques.

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Father Joseph Maskell [Source:]

Eugenics Founders Help Fund MK-ULTRA Using Nazi Scientists

Award-winning syndicated Chicago Tribune columnist Edwin Black detailed in his book, War Against the Weak, how White Anglo-Saxon Protestant families started the eugenics movement in the early 1900s, paying professors at top universities to state that social issues such as poverty and “imbecility” were genetically caused.[1]

According to Black, these wealthiest families, including the Rockefellers, (JP) Morgans, Carnegies and Harrimans etc., had their hired scholars who classified 89% of Blacks (and other people of color) as well as 70% of Jews and a lesser percentage of Catholics as genetically inferior based on “IQ tests” that were extremely biased in using wealthy people’s activities.[2]


These families also paid for influence amongst politicians who passed eugenics laws in 31 states. NBC News reported how this led to the sterilization of a vast number of Americans, particularly people of color, at least until the 1970s.[3]

Black noted how eugenics doctors, celebrated in a prominent movie of the late 1910s, The Black Stork (1917), killed babies from “defective” mothers upon birth. Many people were sent to state hospitals where they were fed milk from tubercular cows, killing up to 40% of the patients.[4]

Many of those oligarchical families then funded eugenics’ rise in Germany that evolved into Nazism. U.S. intelligence further gave refuge to Nazi scientists through Operation Paperclip, which brought some of them into Project MK-ULTRA by 1953.[5]

Project MK-ULTRA conducted experiments that involved 149 sub-projects working on controlling people’s behavior. A 177-page U.S. Senate report on MK-ULTRA in 1977 presented its use of drugs including LSD, hypnosis, and trauma in this aim.[6]

Project MK-ULTRA used the same Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory buildings as the national Eugenics Records Office, and had some of the same funding families, including the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Fords.[7]

Emmy-Nominated Documentary Reveals Priest’s Involvement in Massive Sex Abuse and Murder

The popularity of the 2017 seven-part documentary series The Keepers helped it receive an Emmy nomination that year.[8]

While discussed nationwide, The Keepers’ producers followed Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub as they investigated, around 2014-16, the 1969 murder of their beloved English teacher Cathy Cesnik in Baltimore.[9]

It also covered journalist investigators such as former Baltimore Sun writer Tom Nugent who revealed in Baltimore’s City Paper that, six days after Cesnik’s disappearance, 20-year-old Joyce Malecki was found dead at the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade, only a few miles from where Cesnik’s body was found.[10]

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Father Joseph Maskell worked part-time at St. Clement Church for many years, the same church which Joyce Malecki attended with her family for those years.[11]

Investigators came to find a mass of evidence to support that Father Maskell, who worked full-time as chaplain at Archbishop Keough High School, aided in Cesnik’s death to stop her from revealing his involvement in rape and assisted rape of many Keough girls, as well as at least one area boy.[12]

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Cathy Cesnik [Source:]

The former student victims further said Maskell brought in police officers he worked with as chaplain in the Baltimore County Police and Maryland State Police, to come in a back door to his office and rape them.[13]

The Keepers documented how two other Archbishop Keough students, Jean Hargadon Wehner and Teresa Lancaster (listed as Jane Roe and Jane Doe), brought a lawsuit against Father Joseph Maskell accusing him of rape. They also accused Keough priest Neil Magnus and Dr. Christian Richter in that 1994 lawsuit.[14]

At least 35 other Archbishop Keough students contacted Wehner’s lawyers about Maskell abusing them.[15]

Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department Director Dr. Paul McHugh testified on behalf of Father Maskell and gynecologist Dr. Christian Richter, whom Wehner also accused of rape.[16]

Dr. McHugh convinced the judge that the plaintiffs could not have had repressed memories, despite that such memories are described as part of Dissociative Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder), which have been part of the “bible” of psychiatry, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, since 1980.[17]

Headshot of Paul R McHugh
Paul R. McHugh [Source:]

Years later, in 2017, Baltimore Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine told The Baltimore Sun that “the church fully acknowledges abuse committed by Maskell…” and his having committed “horrible crimes against children in his care.”[18]

Articles Revealed More on Maskell As Church Blocks Release of Attorney General’s 2022 Report

The first woman who accused Father Maskell of rape, psychological torture and sex trafficking, Jean Wehner, said that others also raped her, including a Baltimore City politician and a police officer.[19]

Maskell victim Wehner claimed that Maskell took her to Cathy Cesnik’s grave at a local dump, showing her the body and telling her that she would be next if she told anyone anything.[20]

Wehner’s descriptions of the grave and area included details never released by investigators.[21]

Father Maskell owned a gun which he often carried with him, along with his own police radio, though he was also often seen riding in police cars near Archbishop Keough High School.[22]

The Baltimore Archdiocese sent Father Maskell to a Connecticut psychiatric facility in 1992, and then brought him back to another Maryland parish soon after, before increasing numbers of victim accusations led him to flee to Ireland to work as a psychologist before his death in 2001.[23]

Joseph Maskell was never charged with a crime while the Archdiocese of Baltimore has made $1.1 million in payments and counseling support to 27 of Maskell’s survivors, according to Archdiocese spokesman Christian Kendzierski.[24]

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office spent four years investigating the Archdiocese of Baltimore, finding credible sex abuse cases involving “more than 600 child victims and 158 priests over eight decades.”[25]

The Attorney General’s Office then appeared to collude with the Archdiocese in giving them their 456-page investigative report without allowing the public to see it.[26]


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As of December 2022, the Archdiocese claimed to want to make the report public but is funding a group that has filed suit to prevent the report from becoming public.[27]

Similar reports by the Attorney Generals of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have been made public. Still, only a couple of the more than 300 priests named as committing abuses in those states appear to have ever received criminal convictions.[28]

Maskell’s CIA MK-ULTRA Links

Father Joseph Maskell’s state positions gave him an unusual amount of power. Besides working as the chaplain for the Baltimore County Police and the Maryland State Police, Maskell reportedly “worked as a military chaplain” for several years at the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade base, home to the National Security Agency (NSA).[29]

Father Maskell’s activities with drugs, including LSD, hypnosis and trauma matched the activities of the CIA’s Project MK-ULTRA, as seen in the 1977 U.S. Senate report.[30]

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This makes his links to U.S. intelligence that much more important. In the early 1970s, Maskell earned a certificate in advanced counseling studies at Johns Hopkins University.[31]

Johns Hopkins had many close ties to MK-ULTRA. For example, it received MK-ULTRA funding under Subproject 87 and Hopkins Psychiatry Director John C. Whitehorn led the department from 1941 to 1960, just before his listing as a director of the Human Ecology Foundation—an MK-ULTRA front group.[32]

Portrait of John Clare Whitehorn
Dr. John C. Whitehorn [Source:]

Dr. Paul McHugh, who testified on behalf of Father Maskell, headed the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department from 1975 to 2001.

Dr. McHugh was also on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a group that claimed to “help parents whose children are purportedly misled in therapy into believing they were abused.”[33]

The group abruptly dissolved after 27 years after finding little to no support from the scientific community and the public, and being discredited by the leading trauma association, among others.[34]

False Memory Syndrome Foundation founding board member Ralph Underwager “famously stated in the media and in court that 60% of women sexually abused in childhood reported that the experience was ‘good for them.’”[35]

Interviews Confirm Maskell’s and Doctors’ involvement in MK-ULTRA

After Netflix’s The Keepers gained national attention, Gemma Hoskins joined Shane Waters for a Foul Play: Crime Series podcast, interviewing other victims as well as experts regarding Cathy Cesnik’s murder and Father Maskell’s activities.

Hoskins interviewed many Archbishop Keough students who claimed Maskell raped them with what a therapist confirmed was “ritual sexual abuse.”[36]

Hoskins uncovered the fact that a psychiatrist named William Urban was giving all of the Archbishop Keough students psychological tests and sharing the results with Father Maskell.[37]

Victims also told Hoskins that Maskell then would refer them to Urban for psychiatric medications.[38]

In a personal interview, Maskell victim Donna Von Den Bosch reported that she received years of ritual sexual abuse counseling before testifying to the U.S. Senate about priest sex abuse in 2002.[39]

Von Den Bosch also said Maskell hypnotized her and gave her a post-hypnotic suggestion to kill herself if she told anyone about his abuse.[40]

Donna Von Den Bosch told Gemma Hoskins that she broke a bone in her hand and a doctor’s x-rays found most of the bones in her hands and feet had been fractured or broken in the past, leading Von Den Bosch to believe she had been hypnotized to not feel pain.[41]

Von Den Bosch further said that either Maskell or someone else had programmed her and another victim to react to a series of numbers and they were scared that it might lead them to commit murder while in a dissociative (blacked out) state.[42]

Regarding another CIA MK-ULTRA technique, Donna Von Den Bosch stated that Father Maskell would meet her many mornings and put LSD in a drink he gave her, before coercing a friend of hers to force LSD on her regularly for 30 days.[43]

Maskell would further yell at her that “the CIA is watching you and I’m trying to help you!”[44]

In two of their podcast episodes, Shane Waters and Gemma Hoskins related many of Maskell’s victims’ reports and questions to psychiatrist and trauma expert Dr. Colin A. Ross, author of the book The CIA Doctors.[45]

Dr. Ross had reviewed the 15,000 pages released on MK-ULTRA and confirmed that the victim reports matched many of the techniques described in the documents. [46]

Dr. Ross described how these techniques helped create Dissociative Identity Disorder in the victims or subjects of these experiments so the CIA could use them in espionage operations which were confirmed by at least two other MK-ULTRA victims and their psychotherapist in a federal hearing.[47]

Similar to Donna Von Den Bosch’s account, most of Maskell’s sexual abuse victims told Gemma Hoskins that Maskell also gave them LSD, while about half of them said he hypnotized them, matching MK-ULTRA victims’ accounts not involved with Maskell.[48]

Was Maskell Part of an East Coast CIA MK-ULTRA Blackmail Ring?

Through her interviews, Gemma Hoskins came to find “so many institutions are” part of “Maskell’s network spanning the whole East Coast, involving prostitution, drugs and sex trafficking.”[49]

This echoes the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s report that Pittsburgh priests had a child porn and sex abuse ring.[50]

Hoskins reported Maskell victim Jean Wehner stating that gynecologist Dr. Christian Richter raped her with Maskell, before Richter trafficked her to a NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) building in Alabama.[51]

Gemma Hoskins and Shane Waters also interviewed Detroit native Lynn Schirmer on their Foul Play: Crime Series podcast. Schirmer recognized Dr. Christian Richter as one of the doctors who drugged, shocked, tortured and raped her in the 1960s in an Alabama-based NASA annex facility.[52]


Schirmer, whose father worked for the CIA, said they were training her to do the CIA MK-ULTRA’s bidding for sex and blackmail, among other espionage activities.[53]

Much evidence supports that one of the motives of U.S. intelligence in the Maskell operation was for the purpose of using sex with teens to blackmail police, politicians and others, such as NASA workers.

As previously stated, Jean Wehner said a Baltimore City politician and a police officer both raped her, as well as people at a NASA facility.[54]

The Keepers presented Maskell having buried many of his documents in a massive grave hole.[55]

Donna Von Den Bosch said that she remembered a police photographer coming through Maskell’s back door to take pictures of her and people having sex with her.[56]

Gemma Hoskins said that one victim reported that video was taken of her in these sex abuse situations and that the person who unearthed the large amount of buried Maskell documents said the site also included nude photos of Maskell’s victims.[57]

Gemma Hoskins
Gemma Hoskins [Source:]

Author Nick Bryant had written the book The Franklin Scandal that partly covered the use of blackmail through filming of politicians having sex with minor boys. He interviewed Hoskins.[58]

Whitney Webb’s two-volume set, One Nation Under Blackmail, documents these operations extensively regarding Jeffrey Epstein’s U.S. and Israeli intelligence work, when he filmed his teen-aged girls having sex with many of the world’s most powerful and influential people.[59]

Tom O’Neill documented the use of LSD and sex abuse by Charles Manson with Dr. Louis Jolyon West’s help in guidance by MK-ULTRA Director Sidney Gottlieb, which likely also included blackmail of the actors and musicians lured into sex with minors at Laurel Canyon drug orgies.[60]

As this article goes to press, police have charged a teacher at the all-male Gilman School of rape and a victim’s attorney said he believes there are “scores” more victims over the teacher’s 15 years at Gilman.[61]

Exterior of Gilman School, an all-boys independent school in the Roland Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.
Exterior of the Gilman School, an all-boys independent school in the Roland Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. [Source:]

The Gilman School was named after Daniel Coit Gilman who founded the Johns Hopkins Medical School and was president of the Carnegie Institution when it opened the first Eugenics office in 1904.[62]

So we see that some very prominent people and institutions are tied up with a dark secret history. THe question remains as to how many other priests around Maryland and the U.S. may have been tied to MK-ULTRA.

  1. Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (New York: Basic Books, 2003).

  2. Black, War Against the Weak, 75, 81-4, 103-4.


  4. Black, War Against the Weak, 254-5, 257-8.

  5. On funding German eugenics and the Nazis, see Black, War Against the Weak, chapters14-17. On Operation Paperclip, see Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan/Henry Holt, 2006), 21, 26, 27.


  7. See Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties and Beyond (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1985), 31. Also see, “Medicine: Artificial Psychosis,” Time, December 19, 1955, and, Black, War Against the Weak, 47. On MK-ULTRA aiding families, see McCoy, A Question of Torture, 31.







  14. .The case was dismissed owing to statue of limitations.


  16. and

  17. On Dissociative Amnesia, which is the inability to remember autobiographical information of a traumatic nature, see this from the DSM IV:





  22. On Maskell often seen in police cars, Donna Von Den Bosch:!85a34 . The Baltimore Magazine article included another Maskell victim telling of various times Maskell raped her and brought another person to rape her on “his cabin cruiser,” a boat he bought in the late 1960s.






  28. Pennsylvania: Massachusetts: On legal convictions, see


  30. See subprojects’ use of hypnosis and drugs, 6, 10; trauma, 167.


  32. Colin A. Ross, The CIA Doctors, 132, 290, 292. And


  34. and and Also see DSM IV:


  36. Several personal interviews, June 2021. Also see Maskell’s victim/survivor Jean Wehner in podcast interview with Gemma Hoskins and Shane Waters, 3:05-4:30, 7:00-7:42.!bcc20 See Gemma Hoskins’s joint interview with Jean Wehner and Teresa Lancaster:

  37. Personal interviews with Gemma Hoskins, June 2021.

  38. Personal interviews with Gemma Hoskins, June 2021.

  39. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021. See Donna Von Den Bosch in Also see

  40. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021.


  42. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021.

  43. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021. On Maskell pushing LSD on her directly:!85a34

  44. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021.



  47.!bcc20 on therapist and MK-ULTRA victims at federal hearing: and



  50. “Grand jury report describes a ‘ring of predatory priests’ in Pittsburgh in the 1970s,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 14, 2018,


  52. and



  55. Nick Bryant interview with Gemma Hoskins.

  56. Personal interview with Donna Von Den Bosch on June 28, 2021.

  57. Personal interviews with Gemma Hoskins, June 2021.


  59. and

  60. also see


  62. On Carnegie Institution and eugenics, see Black, War Against the Weak, 40. On Daniel Coit Gilman, see

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About the Author


  1. It’s traumatic just to consider the enormity of the predatory web that spans our (potentially) beautiful realm.

    When all the connections are made – from Cold Spring Harbor to NASA…to Uncle Sam’s Snuff Factory, the RCC, Holywood, Laurel Canyon to Omaha/Franklin, Epstein and the NATO/Marc Dutroux operations – THEN will we take notice?

    Or will the legalization of child rape that the Johns Hopkins/Tavistock/FMSF degenerates are orchestrating become commonplace in our lifetimes?

    How much longer will we allow the parasites to dominate humanity and devastate generation after generation of children?

    Either we find a way to end this abomination, or we deserve the inevitable fallout.


  2. Sorry readers, an error was made on Keogh Maskell survivor Jean Wehner being taken by Dr. Christian Richter to a NASA facility. Jean Wehner did file a lawsuit against Richter for abuse, along with Father Maskell, but it was only Lynn Schirmer who said she recognized Dr. Richter as conducting experiments on her and raping her at a NASA facility when she was living there as a child.

  3. Good News regarding the 10-some year to do away with the statute of limitations on suing institutions for sex abuse that people in my article were struggling for. It finally got passed by both houses of the Maryland legislature, and the governor says he’s now “eager” to sign it into law:

    Also, The Baltimore Banner, the second most prestigious news outlet in Baltimore as its comprised of many former Baltimore Sun workers, has an extensive review of the over 400 page Church Sex Abuse report, featuring Father Joseph Maskell. Many allegations in my Covert Action article are backed up here:

  4. What a great comprehensive article ! I’ve been following this case since I watched the explosive documentary The Keepers, and it keeps evolving. It is shocking to learn that it now includes CIA MKUltra mind control experiments that include rape, torture, drugging, hypnotism, electric shock, and murder of little girls, children, and also little boys by the good ole boys network that still works hard to cover it up: Priests, police, judges, politicians, lawyers, judges, and every level of the Catholic hierarchy! Disgusting! Thank you for continuing to shine a light on these nasty crimes so the survivors can finally get the justice they deserve!! I’ve read it twice and shared it around and will continue to share it. Thank you John Potash!!!

  5. On the front page of Baltimore’s highest circulation daily print newspaper today, March 29, 2023 was a highly surprising (for mainstream newspapers) and revealing article with these excerpts:

    Wiest said Maskell would take him and other boys out of class to a room where, with their pants and underwear pulled down, “he would insert plastic toys” in them.

    Priests also had sex with him and tortured him, Wiest said, and he was taken to other parishes and offices in Baltimore, Catonsville, Towson, Washington, D.C., and even Fort Meade, where Suder said Maskell served as a chaplain, for further abuse.

    Maskell was at Our Lady of Victory from 1968 to 1970, a time that overlapped with when he worked part-time at Keough, according to the archdiocese. Wiest said the priest would pay him sometimes, for tasks like helping him move boxes — and more.

    “He was even giving me a cut for the priests that were paying him to have sex with me,” he said.

    He said he was drugged, threatened with a gun and subjected to painfully loud sounds, along with other severe physical abuse. His hearing has deteriorated over the years, and he wears a hearing aid now.

    [John Potash’s statement:] It should be remembered that the National Security Agency (NSA) has it’s headquarters at Fort Meade, and other intelligence agencies have offices there.

  6. […] Investigators starring in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix documentary, The Keepers, interviewed many women and at least one man reporting that Father Joseph Maskell raped them, and appeared to play a part in the murder of teacher Cathy Cesnik. After The Keepers aired in 2017, Cesnik’s student in 1969, Gemma Hoskins, and a former Baltimore Sun reporter, Tom Nugent, found that Maskell […]Keep reading […]

    • I was in the Keepers, along with my sister Kathy, my friends Donna and Teresa. They were all abused by the monster. As far as I know, I wasn’t. But after reading your article, I have lots of missing time in my childhood, I wonder.
      I went to St.Clements, and Keough. I have a relative and classmates who told me Maskell abused them. Most refuse to come forward, for different reasons. I referred to him as “the pompous ass”, or the pervert priest. That was in elementary school. Thank you for speaking up for Survivors.

    • You deserve all the thanks, Donna, for staying so strong despite Maskell and those other monsters attempts to control and silence you. In solidarity we will defeat them!

  7. […] Investigators starring in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix documentary, The Keepers, interviewed many women and at least one man reporting that Father Joseph Maskell raped them, and appeared to play a part in the murder of teacher Cathy Cesnik. After The Keepers aired in 2017, Cesnik’s student in 1969, Gemma Hoskins, and a former Baltimore Sun reporter, Tom Nugent, found that Maskell […]Keep reading […]

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