How had I never heard of this crime?
For those who don’t know, I’m a true-crime buff. 90% of what I watch on TV, and a good 60% of the films I watch, are crime documentaries. I can rattle off names, dates and statistics of so many killers and rapists and paedophiles that it isn’t even funny, and I rarely come across new ones, let alone interesting new ones.
So how had I never heard of the murder of Cathy Cesnik?
I don’t actually care about the sexual molestation supposedly going on at Archbishop Keogh High School. The documentary didn’t present sufficient evidence to make me think it even really happened (I do suspect it, on the balance of probabilities, but I am far from convinced beyond a reasonable doubt). In fact, the people the documentary creators chose to highlight, and their attitudes, made me doubt many significant claims – once someone starts saying their word should be all that is necessary to convict and imprison someone, they lose a lot of credibility with me.
Too many episodes explore that too deeply and move too far away from what is really important and interesting here – the murder(s).
I often say “the deader they are, the better they were”. It often seems to me that only the nicest, kindest, most altruistic people in the world ever get murdered – if you believe the people interviewed about the murders for TV programmes. There’s almost always at least a handful of skeletons in the closet…
… but this time, I’m actually convinced that Cathy Cesnik was a pretty damn awesome, lovely woman. It isn’t because she’s a nun – I suspect she would have dropped that habit (get it?) under certain circumstances. We actually learn about her breaking a rule at the convent when she was worried about her friend, and someone else suggests she might have been prepared to stand up to a more senior priest, to his face, in the open.
I think she had a well-developed sense of right and wrong and, at the time, being a nun seemed to her to be the best way to do the right thing. If it got in the way, I think she’d have stopped being a nun.
So while I frequently make jokes about murders, even some really brutal ones, and am pretty desensitised to them in general these days… this one really got to me.
Again – how had I never heard of it?
The more I watched this series, and the more research I did myself, the more questions were raised. The programme clearly had its own answers, but I found that only some were plausible, and even those lacked anywhere near sufficient evidence – and googling the producer/writer/director led me to understand that they had a pretty well-developed anti-Catholic bias and would jump at the chance to finger a priest for something awful.
So, really, the only good thing about this series was alerting me to the two murders. The rest was hamfisted, biased nonsense.
But now that I know about an interesting murder where the victim is someone I care about… well… it is gnawing at me.
If you’re going to watch the programme and the murder is your interest, you only really need the first episode, and might get some benefit from the final two. If “child” abuse (we’re talking 15-19 here, so…) is what you’re wanting to learn about, episodes two through five will be your main bag – assuming you don’t mind an utter lack of evidence, incredible “witnesses” and alleged victims, and a really, really nutso attitude about how “justice” should work.