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Netflix's 'The Keepers' sparks petition to release dead priest's files

“The Keepers” has prompted numerous calls for the Baltimore Archdiocese to release a dead priest’s files.

The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that the seven-part documentary exploring the priest’s alleged abuse led more to 11,000 signatures on an online petition. Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said state law bars the release of much of the confidential information.

"The Keepers" tells the story of the unsolved death of Catholic nun Sister Cathy Cesnik, whose body was discovered in January 1970 two months after her sudden disappearance. The popular nun taught English and drama at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore.

Viewers learned how several former Catholic schoolgirls alleged to have endure sexual abuse at their school and how Cesnik promised to helped them, until she ended up dead.

The priest at the center of the show, A. Joseph Maskell, denied abuse allegations and was never charged before his 2001 death. However, the archdiocese has since paid $472,000 in settlements to alleged victims.

Filmmaker Ryan White told Fox News in June he thinks the world will eventually find out who killed Sister Cathy.

“I hope we do,” he said. “I don’t think it’s too late to find out. I probably began the project thinking it was too late to find out, but I don’t believe that now… I believe her family deserves justice. And part of that is being able to name who killed Sister Cathy.”

White also added he never set out to take on the Catholic church with his movie.

“I grew up Catholic, and I had a very positive experience in the Catholic church,” he explained. “And I think the secrets of abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic church are widely known at this point. I didn’t see this as a documentary that would ever be against the Catholic church. I was surprised and disappointed during the filmmaking process that the Archdiocese of Baltimore seemed so resistant to participate.

"I was extremely disappointed in their reaction towards the series. I thought they would come out a lot more compassionately and their reactions so far have been much more of an attack mode. As a Catholic, it’s been a very disappointing experience from the beginning because that was never the intent. I don’t consider ‘The Keepers’ an anti-Catholic movie. I consider it a movie against child abuse and cover-ups of child abuse.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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