“One of our monks ah passed away. He fell or we believe he fell but ah there’s some trauma.” – Shawn Vierzba from St. John’s Life Safety reports the death of Father Bruce Wollmering to the Stearns County Sheriff on February 4, 2009.
Speculating on the Death of Fr. Bruce Wollmering
What were the circumstances which led to the death of Bruce Wollmering on February 4, 2009?
According to Shawn Vierzba from St. John’s Life Safety, in a call to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office/Dispatch Center at 6:08pm on February 4, 2009:
“One of our monks ah passed away. He fell or we believe he fell but ah there’s some trauma.”
According to Wollmering’s obituary:
“Father Bruce was active and healthy until the sudden medical incident that took his life. He had collapsed in the basement locker room of the monastery. Loss of much blood caused cardiac arrest. Despite being on the scene almost immediately, the emergency medical team was unable to revive him.
[ View ]
According to Br. David Klingeman from St. John’s Abbey on September 20, 2010:
“While going down a hallway, Fr. Bruce started having a severe nose bleed (he had been having them of late). He went to the locker room and to the sink to contain the bleeding. Next he probably turned to perhaps go to the health center before it closed and tripped over the bench directly behind the sinks and hit his head on a locker. It is believed that he got up several times and fell again on the concrete floor since there was now a great deal of blood lost. Bruce was found about 10 minutes after the fall unconscious. The EMT and ambulance were called and CPR was performed. I believe from the fall he had cracked his skull and a rib punctured his lung thus causing the massive blood loss.”
“No, There was no indication from the coroners’ office of an attack since there were no blunt wounds.”
Note: Br. Klingeman did not respond when he was asked if Wollmering was hiding anything or if Klingeman knew of anyone who wanted to hurt Wollmering.
The Abbey’s obituary [ Go ] made no mention of Wollmering’s numerous abuse victims or the 2003 sexual harassment charge that led to Wollmering’s dignified “resignation” as chair of the psychology department.
When Wollmering died, his room in the monastery was reportedly taped off and searched by law enforcement.
Why the Interest?
St. John’s officials knew that Wollmering had a history of misconduct and has access to thousands of potential victims. Wollmering’s known victims included a 14 year old (in 1969) and several more male high school and college students. In 2001, Wollmering told a visiting alum that he was in love with one of his students. [ View ]
As a known sexual predator, Wollmering’s name should have been made available to law enforcement following the disappearances of Jacob Wetterling and Joshua Guimond. Documents show that Abbot John Klassen did NOT want to make Wollmering’s name public, following his 2003 harassment charge, because Wollmering’s name had already been brought up (internally) in connection with the disappearance of Joshua Guimond. [ View ]
The sheriff’s department has yet to release the findings of their investigation into the unattended death of Father Bruce Wollmering.
According to Minneapolis private investigator Chuck Loesch, a file regarding the death of Bruce Wollmering might include:
1. Who located the body?
2. Exactly at what time did this occur?
3. Who was contacted first?
4. Was St. John’s Abbey staff contacted before or after the distress call went out?
5. Who responded to the call first?
6. How many people entered the death/crime scene prior to law enforcement?
7. When did law enforcement arrive, exactly?
8. Had Wollmering’s body been moved prior to law enforcement arriving?
9. Had livor mortis set in?
10. Were “blanching” marks on Wollmering’s body noticed?
11. If blanching marks were noticed and noted, were they matched to the environment of the crime scene? Specifically to the area under his body?
12. If (multiple) contusions/bruising/fractures/markings on the body were noted, did the areas in the crimes scene match in logical progression to the action believed related to the cause of such remarkable body issues? Was there a blood trail, blood contaminated foot prints, finger prints,etc.?
12 What did the post mortem examination reveal?
13. Were there indications on Wollmering’s body, and/or his clothing (if he was wearing any clothing) such as blood residue, fingerprints, pressure marks, control marks, impact marks; that would indicate at least a second (or more) party was involved in the action(s) resulting in his death?
14. What evidence beyond the crime scene was obtained by law enforcement, including, but not limited to; personal, school or other computers that Wollmering had access to; any personal diaries belonging to Wollmering; personal belongings that might have referenced Wollmering’s behavior or personal contact with previous students and/or missing persons?
15. Were Wollmering’s relatives interviewed by law enforcement in regard to any off campus material that belonged to Bruce Wollmering?
16. Were phone tolls obtained belonging to Wollmering’s phones, including any cell phone? Same with texting.
17. Were direct and indirect associates of Wollmering’s interviewed, including those suspected (or who were person(s) of interest) in either the Jacob Wetterling or Joshua Guimond disappearances?
18. What was the level of cooperation between the Abbey and law enforcement?
19. Was Wollmering’s monastic residence and office secured and thoroughly searched, including his computer?
20. Were the bird/animal cages exterior of Wollmering’s office searched, and the recess/gate below?
This article was originally posted on October 4, 2010. It was updated on November 1, 2010.