Monk Kept His Job after Claims
By David Unze and Frank Lee
St. Cloud Times
August 6, 2006
Collegeville — A member of the St. John's monastic community continued to work at St. John's Preparatory School for five years after he was accused of sexual misconduct.
The allegations against the Rev. Michael Bik were made in 1997 and included accusations of incidents with two teen-age boys in the 1970s, before he joined St. John's Abbey and before his ordination.
"With respect to Bik, if it came to us today we would have handled it differently," Abbot John Klassen said.
Bik — and the Revs. Bruce Wollmering and Robert Blumeyer — were named in a July 28 statement by the abbey concerning alleged sexual misconduct from the 1970s and 1980s. Bik stopped working at the school in 2002.
"It was at that time we said it is inappropriate for Michael to continue to be working in that situation," Klassen said.
The accusations against the late Blumeyer were made in September and involved a teen-age boy Blumeyer knew as an assistant pastor at a Wayzata parish starting in 1969.
"We have had two additional people come forward against Father Robert Blumeyer in June and July 2006," since the abbey disclosed the allegations against Blumeyer in May, Klassen said. Both victims are males.
Wollmering was accused in 2004 by a St. John's University student of sexual harassment that allegedly started when he was a sophomore in 1984 and lasted until he graduated.
"One of the reasons we felt imperative to make this public at this time is that if there are other victims, they can come forward," Klassen said.
Wollmering retired in 2004 as chair of theSt. John's psychology department — the same year the accusations were leveled against him.
"He wished to step down at the time ... in relation to this and some other issues," Klassen said.
Bik and Wollmering could not be reached for comment.
Klassen said there are 10 members of St. John's monastic community who are on restriction — or "supervision," as he preferred to call it — including Bik and Wollmering.
"In other words, avoidance of student residence halls on campus, situations where he would have the capacity to develop a relationship with undergraduate men and ongoing attention to living monastery life and therapy," Klassen said.
The Revs. Cosmas Dahlheimer and John Eidenschink, who were on the restriction list as far back as 2002, have since died.
"With Wollmering, the inappropriate behavior was not the sexual abuse of a minor. It was sexual harassment, and in my mind there is a difference," Klassen said.
Klassen also was concerned about those Wollmering may have counseled as chair of the St. John's psychology department in Collegeville, whether any misconduct occurred and how to help them.
The abbey is making its concerns about Wollmering public because the confidentiality surrounding counseling records prevents direct communication.
The allegations against Bik and Wollmering were made public after the abbey's external review board submitted its annual report to Klassen and the abbey's senior council.
"The review board has been very helpful ... because they really have urged us to make these allegations public," Klassen said.
That way, if there are additional victims, they can receive the help they need, he said.
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