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Police dig up records priest ordered buried

August 10, 1994|By Robert A. Erlandson and Joe Nawrozki | Robert A. Erlandson and Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writers

A source close to Father Maskell, who also spoke under condition of anonymity, denied that there was anything "sinister" about the buried documents. He said the priest and a psychologist used a federal grant to set up a psychological testing center in 1975 and that Father Maskell took the records to Holy Cross with him in 1985. Because of a ban on open burning, the priest decided to dispose of them by burial at the cemetery, the source said.

The link between the allegations of sex abuse against Father Maskell and the slaying of Sister Catherine was forged this spring by one of the women who alleged that Father Maskell had abused her while she was a student at Keough.

Nun disappears

The woman told her attorneys, police and The Sun that she had told Sister Catherine about the abuse at the end of the 1969 school term.

Shortly afterward, Sister Catherine left the Sisters of Notre Dame Convent and her position at Keough to teach in Baltimore City schools.

The nun disappeared Nov. 7, 1969, after she left on an evening shopping trip from her residence at the Carriage House Apartments on North Bend Road in Southwest Baltimore.

Police conducted an intensive search but turned up nothing until Jan. 3, 1970, when two hunters stumbled upon the partially clothed body on a frozen field in Lansdowne. An autopsy showed that she had died from a blow to the head.

But the former Keough student said that Father Maskell drove her in his car to the body of Sister Catherine before it was discovered and told her that she was responsible for the nun's death because she had told Sister Catherine about the alleged sexual abuse.

After a silence of more than 20 years, the woman first brought her allegations of sexual abuse to the Archdiocese in 1992, while Father Maskell was still pastor at Holy Cross.

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