Abbey names 3 more accused abusers

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The names have been added to the list of St. John’s Abbey clerics who have faced allegations of sexual abuse recently or in the more distant past. The names of three priests accused of sexual misconduct, primarily in the 1970s and ’80s, have been released by St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., abbey officials said Wednesday.

The abbey’s external review board, created in 2003 in response to sex-abuse allegations, included the names in its annual report to Abbot John Klassen, said the Rev. William Skudlarek, Klassen’s executive assistant.

The abbey has released about 13 other names in recent years, Skudlarek said. The newly named:

o The Rev. Robert Blumeyer, accused posthumously last year of having had a sexual relationship with a young man from 1969 to 1979, when he was assistant pastor at St. Bartholomew Parish in Wayzata. Blumeyer, who was associated with the abbey, died in 1983 at age 61.

o The Rev. Michael Bik, 57, accused in 1997 of sexual contact with two teenagers in the 1970s, before he joined the abbey and before his ordination. Bik taught theology and worked in campus ministry at St. John’s Preparatory School until 2002.

o The Rev. Bruce Wollmering, 65, a retired St. John’s psychology teacher and counselor, accused in 2004 of sexual misconduct with a student in the 1980s.

Bik and Wollmering are among about 10 accused community members who live at the abbey under restrictions, Skudlarek said. They may not do ministerial work and are limited in where they may travel, said Lee Hanley, the abbey’s communications director.

The review board, which meets monthly, crafts plans for abusers on the basis of recommendations from Project Pathfinder Inc., a nonprofit group with which it has contracted to assess offenders and recommend treatment and restriction plans, Hanley said. The abbey also has a contract with Minneapolis’ Walk-In Counseling Center to help victims.

Skudlarek, who has been at the abbey since 1951, said he believes abuse has been greatly reduced. “We have dramatically heightened awareness of behavior and boundaries, and know now how very devastating this kind of abuse can be,” he said.

Suzanne Severson, co-moderator of Twin Cities Voice of the Faithful, said her group “appreciates any efforts at improving transparency in relation to sexual abuse in the church.” But Bob Schwiderski, who is active in several victims’ advocacy groups, said St. John’s Abbey could do more to help victims.

Swifter release of names and closer coordination with law enforcement officials and victims’ advocacy groups would improve St. John’s response system, Schwiderski said.

Pamela Miller
Star Tribune
August 02, 2006
Abbey names 3 more accused abusers

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Topics: Bruce Wollmering, John Klassen, Michael Bik, Project Pathfinders, Review Board, Robert Blumeyer, SNAP, William Skudlarek

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