Ep - 134 - GEMMA HOSKINS FROM THE KEEPERS
Amazing cake JC. Welcome back for this episode of reality life with Casey in this bonus episode, I spoke with Gemma Hoskins from the keepers. The keepers is a seven episode web series directed by Ryan white on net. Flicks. The series explores the unsolved murder of a twenty six year old nun sister. Kathy says Nick who taught English and drama at Baltimore's archbishop Keough high school, and our former students belief that there was a cover up by Thorndike's after says Nick suspected that a priest at the school choice of Maskell was guilty of sexual abuse of students says Nick's body was found in a garage. Dump in January nineteen seventy just two months after being reported missing by her roommate to this day sister says next murder remains a mystery Maskell who died in two thousand one denied the abuse allegations and was never criminally charged. But the archdiocese has paid settlements to at least sixteen people who have said that he abused them. Jim Hoskins wasn't. Class with says neck when she went missing November nineteen sixty nine and with the help of her classmate Abby Shaab has dedicated her retirement to the finding the identity of says killer Jemma is a key figure in the net. Flicks docu series and helps narrate the events that took place at Keough high school in the sixties and seventies. This series of extremely personal for me. My aunt Marie was a non in a similar order. The sisters of Notre Dame Dinna Muir in Washington DC. I'm a graduate of Trinity College in DC where my aunt also went to school and many of my professors were nuns. In addition to that, my mother Suzanne is the victim of abuse by a priest in the Philadelphia archdiocese. So I really was excited to talk to Gemma about how she is doggedly pursued the answers to says next murder and also her bravery in exposing this story and just how much people in Baltimore were involved in the cover up in. In the late sixties and continued to do today. So here's my interview with Gemma Hoskins. These days getting to the things that really matter in life can be tough with all the distractions and pressures out there. But at the end of the day, the things that really matter that things that we really cherish are the simple ones and dairy milk is oftentimes a part of those moments like getting Allante with a friend or sharing a favorite recipe around the dinner table with friends or family. We're comforting glass of milk and cookies after school I love to make milkshakes with my kids. And during the summer, the kids of such a great time we make homemade ice cream. Take a moment to savor the moments that really matter with milk today. The keepers is a seven episode web series directed by Ryan white on net. Flicks. It is a must must see the series explores the unsolved murder of twenty six year old non sister. Kathy says Nick who taught English and drama at Baltimore's archbishop Keough high school, and our former students believed that there was a cover up by thorns after says Nick suspected that a priest at the school Joseph Maskell was guilty of sex abuse of students now says next body was found in a garage dump in January of nineteen Seventy-three two months after being reported missing by her roommate to this day sister says Dicks murder remains a mystery Maskell died in two thousand one and denied the abuse allegations and was never criminally charged. But the archdiocese has paid settlements to at least sixteen people who said he abused them. Jemma Hoskins wasn't class with says Nick when she went missing in November of nineteen sixty nine and with the help of her classmate Abby Shaab has dedicated her retirement to finding the identity. Of says next killer Jemma is a key figure in the Netflix series and helps narrate the events that took place a Keogh in the sixties and seventies and doggedly has tried to pursue answers. Now, it's been almost a year since the series premiered. And I wanted to touch base with Gemma to see how the keepers changed her life. Whether it brought new details about the murder and its impact in the metoo era. So welcome Jemma. This is such a such a big this is such a big deal for me. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to talk. So tell me about how you got involved with the Netflix series, well, Abby, and I and a number of other Keough alumni actually were about a year and a half into doing our own investigation about you killed taffy. And along with that we began to hear of the abuse that happened to Keough Abby. He and I were seniors when Kathy disappeared. So she was already out of the combat living in an apartment nearby, but it was such a tragedy. We just had no idea who would want to hurt this person. So most of us knew nothing about the abuse. That was actually going on in the building not just by Mascow. But by another priest Neil Magnus, and allegedly by police officers politicians and business people who the price was leading in the back door and girls had been drugged and hypnotized and they were being prostituted. So it was quite a big operation. None of us knew about it. So about after our initial interest and digging around we began to Facebook pages. And as I said about a year and a half into that. And I think it was Novem. Of two thousand fourteen we got a call from the producer. Jessica Lawson Hardgrave, and I talked to her for about two hours and felt really comfortable with our we were in the middle of doing a print story with Laura Bassett for the Huffington Post, and that was coming to a close. And so we made the commitment to work with just and director Ryan white with tripod media. So that's how we got involved now before that unknown to abbey, and I they had already met with Jean waner who is Jane Doe and her family number of times and had decided if. Jayme would commit to it would be comfortable with it. Then they would pursue talking to us and other people that they wanted to be involved. So that's how we got connected with tripod. They at that time when not connected with Netflix. Netflix didn't make this movie that flex released the movie if that makes sense sure, they wait until the movie is in the editing phases. And then they show they start shopping. And I know they went around the country and visited with all the big release companies, I guess Showtime HBO, Amazon, they like the Netflix model the best. And so they signed their contract that clicks. So here we are a year later how long was the process from the filming to release. The filming ended in January of two thousand seventeen. But as they were they worked about almost three years on this movie as they pieces of it. They of course for sending that material back to their editors in California. Both Justin Ryan living LA. So they were they were involved the Baltimore area about a week out of every month. And so were returning with you know, I had visions of big movie reels. Like like, I saw in a movie theater when I was a kid. But no, it's all one little flash drive. So they hand carried or sent it back electrically and then their team in LA was working on it. So when the filming was finished in January, then the squeeze happens. I believe they had fifteen people on their team worked. Komo and editing it and getting it ready to be released in may. So from the time they finished that was January, and it was released may seventeenth. So can you go over the timeline of events the day before Kathy disappeared to afterwards? Just to give people some perspective of why this is such a mystery. Startling. Well, how about if I back up a little bit more because some people may not obscene the series in the spring of nineteen sixty nine both sister, Kathy and her best friend is Russell Allen Russell Phillips. They left te'o. And they told their families that it was part of a social experiment that they were going to be living outside the convent. They were still none. But they hadn't taken. I don't think they had taken their final vows yet. And they had until December of that year to decide if they were going to stay out of the convent permanently or or or remain in show they left te'o. But at the same time, I know copies family was very disappointed. Her father was so proud of her being non and she made. Comment to her family that it was more dangerous for her to remain teaching te'o than it would be to teach in a big city public school in Baltimore which after thinking about what happened is an interesting comment for her to make. So I believe, and I think other te'o alumni believe that she she and Russell were the only two who were willing to try and do anything about the abuse that they knew about, and they probably left because they were not able to do it and thing so they moved into an apartment in the neighborhood of Keough, not far, maybe probably two miles, and they were very open about, you know, having visitors. I remember in the summer, a friend of mine took a pizza over. And I thought it was. So odd because Cathy was in shorts. You're and she was I running, and I said this is weird for us to and they had already changed their habits to shorter dr- skirts, but they still had weren't ahead piece. And here were these two young women. I mean that were twenty six years old, and we were, you know, seventeen and it was just so odd to see our teachers in street clothes, right? So they had a lot of visitors. You know, a lot of girls went to see them that summer and in those days, it was very appropriate. You know, when I was a young teacher. I starting some of my students would come and visit me where I lived. So you'd never do it today. But then it was all wholesome and everything was fine. Or parents knew where we were. So that was like July of sixty nine and then I began my senior year at te'o. And at that time sister pappy was teaching at western high. High school, which was a girls public school in Baltimore City and sister. Helen Russell was teaching right next door to their apartment complex and not was called the rocklin junior high which would be like a middle school. And so they shared har-. Rush would walk up the hill to go to school and Kathy would take the car downtown to western. So they began the year at two different schools, and none of the students at the schools new. They were nuns the faculty probably did. But the students didn't. So when sister Kathy was teaching English at one point in November. She was a Friday afternoon, she told a student how excited she was that she was going to be shopping for her an engagement gift for her. Her sister that night. So that was the Friday that she disappeared November sex of nineteen sixty nine the day before that we know from an anonymous source that I know and have talked to that Kathy. And please interrupt me if you have questions 'cause I just go on and on you don't even have to get you don't even have to give me in courage moment. I just wanna roll. So. And anyway, we know that the night before on Thursday night two teenagers team to their non department and one of them had shared with her that she had been abused by Reverend Joseph Maskell, and she had her boyfriend with her and they went in and they were visiting both nuns. Were there Russell asked. If they would like some. Something to drink. And when she got up and went to the kids, which in the door opened. Without knocking an income that you crease. So we never figured out if they were stocking Mateen's agers if they were watching the neighborhood. But that they knew they could go in without knocking is very strange. So they came in and I asked actually asked the woman who remain anonymous, and I respect that how they what the demeanor of the crease was and she said Magnus look confused. He was like the follower and Mascow look, Barry angry. So sister, Kathy had them Lee had the kids leave and. They were gone for the evening. So the next morning this young woman who was probably a sophomore at Keio. Now, remember Kathy's gone from the school. So this girl really has nobody to turn to Mascow polar out of her class or saw her before school that morning and said to her we just remember that if you tell anybody I will kill your boyfriend and your family, so when Kathy disappeared, of course, this young woman is like freaking out thinking, he's not fooling around. He's telling the truth. So she never talked about it. And this is what happened to a lot of girls. People have continued to ask why didn't you tell somebody? Why didn't you tell your parents? Well, first of all our parents thought that. Priests walked on water, and we're taught to do what the nuns and the priests told us to do. So that was that was the weekend Catholic disappeared. And then as you're aware, she was found two months later. So that's kind of what led up to her disappearance. What ever happened to sister? Russell. She never spoke about what happened. I know. She went on to get married, and I did she have children. Yes. She did. She the remainder of that year. She actually, I'm not sure if she finished the year at rocklin the year that copy died she stayed in that apartment a little while and another friend who was also a non or has been a non moved in with her, and they were both teachers, and then when another apartment in not development came open, they moved out of that building into another and that other sister, who's a wonderful friend. She told me it was so creepy because she had Cathy's room and she said Russell acted like nothing ever happened. She just shut it all out or shut it in maybe. And she'd never talked about it. She never, you know, showed emotion about it. But Russia was the type of person that you you didn't always know what she was thinking feeling because she she was a lovely person and very gentle and sweet, but would be the one to not share a whole lot. So she moved on to another school. She taught at Martin Spalding high school, which is a Catholic high school for boys and girls in Annandale county, which is just adjacent to Baltimore County. And that's where she met her husband. He was also a teach her, and so they married and issue. She left the the convent permanently. They married and move to another county had chew sons. Who were athletes at at their high school? And interestingly enough, one of the women who is in the keepers. Her name is Chris Santa Fonte was a year ahead of me. And she was very close to both Russell and Kathy. And she told me that she met met Russell again, they were adults and because Chris was a real estate agent, and she sold, you know, Russel's house to her and her husband. So she said that she had professional relationship, but they also remained good friends, and they would see each other at, you know, school board meetings, or you know, whatever was going on in the community. And she said to her several times, you know, what what happened. You know? What is it that you can't talk about? And she was. Nice. Chris, but she said to her that's not my life anymore, and I've moved on an I not going to share that. So to me, it's not like she said, she didn't know what happened. It's like she said, you know, I've wrap this up inside. And I'm not touching it anymore. And some people can do that. Now. Unfortunately, she died young in fifties of melanoma. And to me, I really believe in holistic health, that's kind of significant because you know, she was holding things in and. Your body doesn't always allow you to do that comes out some way. I also can can tell your listeners that the friend that lived with Russell for a while after copy died called Ross. To tell her that Joseph. She had heard that Joseph mask had died and rush she said Ross, what are you doing? And Russell said I'm putting a pie in the oven with an oxygen tank on my back because she had cancer. And she died the next day. What such she said to? Yeah. Rush died the day after she heard that Maskell dive, she said to her friend, then he spoke his secret to the grave. So I believe rush knew everything that happened but had to make the decision between keeping herself and her family safe or telling what she knew. And I think any of us who would be in not physician would probably opt for keeping your family safe because Chaffee was murdered. And I think that was a huge red flag for anybody. Who was about to report anything that they knew, and I believe that many many on the faculty knew I know some of the nuns were aware of it some of them to silicate the use. But none of them will talk. I'm sure you're aware that after the attorney general release of the their findings on clergy abuse in Pennsylvania that it's almost like an election map, you know, state by state different. Political. You know, different heads of what am I trying to say, it's hernia generals in other states are calling for investigations and the top topping in Maryland right now, the attorney general Brian frosh has called for an investigation and has notified the archdiocese that they will be some things subpoenas. And then they expect all records to be shared with the investigators. So that's coming on everybody that was involved in the keepers thrilled. Because we didn't think we would see this in our lifetime. I mean, I can't believe that we're going to be able to see that. It's all common rivals and most of us believe that it's going to leave Lisa who kill passes because it was a huge. It was infused prostitute. Titian that work and it involves priests. I believe that a couple of plea nuns at Keogh were involved and are still living it involved business people in the area it involved. Very high ranking politicians so Maskell pretty much. He was taking care of all those men. It sounds so crass by providing teenage girls for them, and they were protecting him. So nobody was going to tell one game. Because then there's their supply of of young women. You know, whenever they wanted to have a good time. So yeah, it's gonna be interesting. The church has continued to get heels in and say that even if we gave you the records, it, wouldn't you know, they would have to be redacted and. It really would share any, you know, show anything new. My response would be well, then just do it. I think Abby, and I could probably fill in all the redacted for your listeners who don't know mean somebody takes a black sharpie and draws a line through names day, anything that would be confidential personal information about somebody's. I don't think we'd have a hard time selling his in. But it's coming my fear, though, is that. The arched is this is going to destroy the records before the attorney general has the opportunity to get them. If they have not already because everything was on paper there were very few computers being used for that kind of recording. You know, things were just copied on copy machines and and put in file cabinets. Think about all of your friends who don't color their hair. It's pretty hard to do. Right because most women color their hair. That's why you should think about Madison Reed. It's a company that's really revolutionizing the way women color their hair. It's a company that the founder Eimi air it named after her daughter see for decades women had two options that they wanted to color their hair, they could use an outdated at home hair-color or they could go to a really expensive salon. So Amy created Madison Reed because she believes women deserve better than the status quo the reinventing the way that women color their hair because they're giving them the quality of salon color, the convenience and affordability of an at home care color, and in a Monja free formula with ingredients that you really can feel good about you can look like you just walked out of salon. Join hundreds of thousands of women who've tried and really loved Madison Reed. Find your perfect shade at Madison dash Reed dot com. Madison Reed, we'd like to owner reality. Life of Casey listeners with ten percent off plus free shipping on there. I color kit with promo code reality. That's code reality. Can you just tell us a little bit about what Kathy meant to you and your life? That's a big question. But well, she's the reason I became a teacher I had her for English, and I also was in the drama club. And she was the drama coach. So I had the opportunity to be in shows that she produced, and I would have just wanted to be in her English class like twenty four seven she had really high standards for us. But she made everything so interesting, and so much fun that it was like we were trumping if the bit for her to raise the standards, and I remember once this is so clear to me, I sat in we had rows of seats like, you know, Catholic like no tables where you could look at each other. I was in the first seat in the second row, and she was handing back tests. We had taken and when she handed mine back, she kind of raised an eyebrow. At. Me and she put the paper face down on my desk. And I was a good student. And I thought oh my God. I probably said S H word in my head. My other is going to be so upset if this is not a decent grade. So I looked at it. It was an A. And she just laughed. You know, she was like lead me on. I just like, hey, this huge relate. And she always wrote comments on our papers in her beautiful hand, you know, hand script writing it was just we were just living charmed life. She was just this amazing beautiful person. And I know that people say when you have a wonderful person in your life, you exaggerate how much they were we're not exaggerating. She really was Julie Andrews from the sound of music without the gag part. She. She was just an amazing teacher. And so when I became a teacher. I started teaching second grade I used what I saw her. Do. She had these very unique ways of getting us to think deeper and think harder great strategies. I don't know if you're familiar with the Socratic method, but yeah, critise would sit. Yeah. He would sit with his students and have a conversation with them and the learning coms from the students so the teacher facilitates by asking like a question and then probing for for more details. And so that's what I did. And it worked, and I was very honored that I was named the nineteen ninety two Maryland teacher of the year, and I opened to Kathy because everything I did that made me a good teacher was what I saw her. Do that made her the best teacher? So that's what she meant to me now when she disappeared. And then when her body was found, we really didn't know what to think, and I didn't know anything about the abuse both my sister, and I were at te'o at the same time. And neither one of us was even you know that priest did not even make an overture us. But when the other hand, both of my parents were very visible at school. And I don't know how they did it because there were two other younger ones at home or one younger one and a a grandchild on the way. But my dad was there. My sister was in sports and art, and my father came to the games, I was in art and music, and they came all shows. So I think for Maskell to be aware of like. Like a family where both parents are are involved. And it's you know, fairly functional for the fifties. I think there was no way he would have even made an overture us. He was very aware of like who was on. And I've been I've been told that actually this is by the woman the dean at that time. The dean of students is your Judas Shaam that she would meet with him the nurse and the guidance counselor like, I don't know once a week or a couple times a week, and they would go over the names of girls who were either sick physically ill or having emotional problems or struggling academically, and that would be his list. So it was it's it's disgusting. That's how pedophile operate, and that's how. Psychopaths worked there. They're able in finding somebody who's vulnerable who hasn't made that they can convince the person they can fill and finally what happened to Mascow. Can you explain to that to listeners about what the church did? Well, okay. The church finally admitted well, first of all the church moved him around. And we we've been told by the church spokesperson, Sean Kane, there were many reasons prese were moved around. Well, not really one of the main reasons was that they were abusing children in there in the in the parish and the school where they were signed. And so they would be moved someplace else. So in nineteen seventy five Mascow was moved to the Catholic center, which is the division of schools operates out of the Catholic center in downtown Baltimore. And I guess it was for them to keep an eye on him. But it also gave him the freedom to go any place. You wanted in the in the arch dice is because he wasn't expected at one school. So. So his actual job at the archdiocese listeners better be sitting down for this one was to evaluate foster children for adoption. So they're taking this pedophile who's abusing high school girls and having him work with children who don't have parents to see if they're appropriate for Dopp Sion. He works for Catholic charities, which to me is just. Unfathomable? So he finally he was assigned. Holy Cross parish. And you may have heard about him how things buried in the cemetery there. He had a lot of records vary by the Browns caper, not not just a lot. But like three truckloads fall. And some of it was testing that he had done that. He wasn't supposed to do psychiatric psychological and personality testing that he did on students, and he would skew the results. So that it would appear that there was something wrong with them. The other thing you did. And I've seen some of these personality tests. It would ask questions like how likely are you to be able to make decisions on your own or have are you ever? Swayed by other people, so it gave him an inside book at health his thought, and that would be his way to manipulate. So you know, if they were easily swayed by other people where he probably figured they would be easily hitting the ties and there were always drugs involved. He always gave a gave out something to drink. And a lot of the the survivors that I've talked to don't know what happened to them while they were unconscious, but they know when they woke up their close reduce shoveled or buttoned wrong, or they were bleeding or they were not feeling well, and they would be stumbling down the hall try and get back to the class. So his years at Holy Cross. He was there for ten years after the materials were dug up at the cemetery the police or or at least a police off. Officer that I know said there was enough there to at least get him on charges of child pornography because he was he was taking do you know, what a polaroid camera is. Of course. Of course. Six your. Yeah. Well, yeah, they're coming back here. But anyway, you don't have to take it somewhere to get it developed because if you take pornography into store, they have to report that to the police if somebody's got that film when their camera, well, he used Polaroid's so the picture shootout at the camera. This officer told us that there was enough to get him on pornography, and he and his partner went to mass where mass was supposed to be saying mass and different Preece came out on the altar. And so this officer went up for community union, and instead of saying body of Christ the pre said, he just went out the back door, so. They missed him. Then he ends up in Ireland. You know to get away from the United States or sent over there. There's no extradition from Arslan to the United States. So we couldn't get me the police couldn't get him back. So he came back at some point and was assigned to Saint Augustine's for about a year that was a parish in south west Baltimore and became ill. He died in two thousand one and there is episode in the series where woman named Bill views talks about wanting to see him at nursing home. And then he had dementia and actually caught pneumonia and died in a hospital pretty young. I don't think he was sixty is in fifty. So that was early two thousands and between you and may I think he got on the down elevator. I don't think he went up. I would agree with you. What has this series meant to you? Well, you can see really posh genetic back getting to the truth. So since the series a third there's a lot of emotion last summer. We had no idea that this was going to be like life changing all of us. The first thing that happened was everybody got sick. I had you. Now you taking exam, and then you get sick. And everybody got sick. I was sick for like a month with a horrible code and cost. And then I went out on the street and people would say like, oh my gosh. You're in the keepers, you know, somebody would like screech their their bike and fall off their bike and say, oh my gosh. It's Joma and there's tatty her dog. So that was very surreal, but people have been wonderful, and I now live in a beach town, and I'm very safe, and I'm very happy and people are wonderful near. There were some rough spots because I was some people felt like I was looking for fame and fortune because I'm kind of out there in the public eye and Abby tends to be very shy. And would choose not to be doing interviews or being media. And for me, I kind of feel like this was why was born my don't drive anymore, and my Uber lady Phyllis to in her own sweet way is brilliant. She said, you know, there's two important days in your life. While on is the day, you're born and one is the day. You figure out why you were born and not really struck home with me because I lost my husband when I was thirty five. I lost my dad when I was seventeen right after graduation. I've had some product health issues that are very challenging that continue. And I. Always was like, okay. Why am I here? Why am I dealing with all this stuff? And I think it was getting ready for what I'm doing now because I really feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. And this is my mission. And I it's I had a healthy ego. But it's very hard for me to think that like people over the world who I am. And that I'm doing something that they support. And I can't think of any other time in my life where everybody agreed when something right? You know, nine eleven people didn't all agree about that. But since except for the perpetrators everybody agrees, this is wrong. And that we have to, you know, strip the strip the wallpaper off and find out what happened, and that's what I feel like I need to be doing. So I'm still involved in murder. I get leads all the time. I turned everything over to the police. We also have started a fund for survivors, clergy abuse in the archdiocese of Baltimore. And I am just gonna put in a plug for that. Because the archdiocese settled with a number of individuals, but only allotted them either five thousand or ten thousand for therapy. And once it was gone. That's it and that's not enough because it's very expensive, especially specialists that deal with with abuse situations. There are a lot of people who can't afford it. Or who don't have the insurance that will cover it? So what we've done is starting to fund for them. And if they need individual or family support, we have a form they sell out one that gives their provider, and we send him a check. I think once all. The like emotions settled down and everybody saw the keepers like five times or whatever. Then we got to do the real work. So right now really pushing for the attorney general to convene a grand jury. We do have an investigation going on that the attorney general has assigned to you know, specific investigator and they're doing interviews. And then a lot of information lot of leads, and I think it's gonna be really food for oil. So we're pushing for that we also want people to know that if they need help like immediately that are I n n raining is the biggest twenty four hour hotline in the world for the tombs of sexual abuse and easy to remember, just Google. Rain and there's a phone number together. One that people may not know about is called snap and a. And that one stands for survivors network of those abused by priests. So if if adults or young people have been abused snap is also good resource for them. It's the abuse by clergy. So I think there's a lot of concrete things people can do, and you know, those are few but. We're really pushing for closure on this. I think we're gonna find out what happened, you know, in the not too distant future. Hey. I wanna think again, Jim Hoskins for allowing me to interview her, and I wanna remind people that they can subscribe to the show on itunes and leave a five star review. And if you wanna find my Facebook page, you just go to the search button and put in reality life with Casey, we will be discussing this episode in the page. If you want to join discussion, you can find me on Twitter at Kate Casey on Instagram at KC, and my website is love and knuckles dot com.