They Prey (S1, E6)
Season 1, Episode 6
Date of Release: August 29, 2022
Welcome to Simply Vanished, an investigative podcast about missing persons. The show is produced by Trembling Leaf Media in Minneapolis and hosted by civil rights lawyer Josh Newville. Alternating between serial and episodic format, Simply Vanished digs deep to tell the stories of unsolved disappearances. In this first season of the show, Josh dives into a story that hits especially close to home for him—that of Joshua Guimond, a college student at Saint John’s University in Minnesota who disappeared in the middle of the night on Saturday, November 9, 2002.
In this this episode, we explore possible connections to a well-known sex abuse scandal.
Please rate the show and subscribe on Apple podcasts, and download the Simply Vanished app! You can find more information and resources on our website.
If you have any information about Joshua Guimond, please contact us or the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. You can submit tips anonymously on our website or via our tip line at 415-969-LOST (5678).
Josh Newville: This is the Simply Vanished podcast, produced by Trembling Leaf Media in Minneapolis. I'm your host, Josh Newville. Before we dive into today's episode, I have five brief updates. Well, six, if you count that my voice is somewhat on the outs today due to summer allergies, so I apologize for that.
First of all, after the latest bonus episode, I was able to talk with several of Josh's friends and roommates, who we previously had trouble connecting with. I really want to express my appreciation to them, and to Nick in particular. He was especially helpful this past week, and I hope to continue connecting with him, and others, and by episode seven, we should definitely have some updates, some answers to some of the questions that we've previously raised.
Second, in light of that and some other case developments, episode seven will now be on October 3rd. We still plan to release episode eight on November 14th, and we'll keep you updated with any changes.
Third, we continue to receive really incredibly helpful tips. Thank you. We ask that you please continue to pass along any helpful information, even something that might remotely be helpful, both to us, and the Stearns County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Office recently launched an online tool that allows you to submit tips anonymously, which is really cool, actually. So we will add a link to that on Josh's case page at simplyvanished.com.
Fourth, among the tips that we are receiving are additional reports regarding strange men targeting students in the vicinity of Josh's disappearance, including, for example, one report of a really frightening incident from as late as October 2020. I hope to have more on all of this by episode seven.
Fifth, and relatedly, I've received several additional calls and emails related to the White Van Speaker story that you heard from Mitchell in episode five. Based on the information we are receiving, it's beginning to look like that may have been a scam involving bunk speakers, and thus less likely to be connected to the other incidents that you've heard about, especially, those described by Jeremy in episode four, and Jeff in episode five. We'll continue to explore that. If you have any further information, please let me know.
Today's episode is focused on a topic that has long been discussed online. The Saint John's monk abuse scandal and its possible connection to Josh Guimond's disappearance. Candidly, when I first started diving into this case, I was reluctant to cover this scandal, much less devote an entire episode to it. I assumed wrongly as it turns out that there would be little evidence other than Josh's mere attendance at Saint John's University that might link him to the scandal.
My guest today is Pat Marker. If there is such a thing as an expert on the Saint John's monk abuse scandal, it's him. Pat, welcome to the podcast. To start with, why don't you tell us about yourself? Who are you? What do you do?
Pat Marker: Well, it depends who you ask. In my real life, I'm a school teacher. I teach first and second grade math, fifth and sixth grade math, to a great group of kids in Washington State, but to some in Minnesota I'm the worst person on the planet. My charge in life, my hobby, my passion has been to hold accountable those people in Collegeville, Minnesota who have done wrong, and make sure that the circle of abuse and the circle of pain is interrupted by a website that I created almost 30 years ago, I believe, Behind the Pine Curtain. It exists solely so that those people who have been hurt by the monks, and others at Saint John's can see their perpetrator's name when they Google them, and learn a little bit about their history. And at the end of the day to know that as a victim they are not alone, and that there are people out there who care about them, and they're willing to help them.
Josh Newville: Can you paint a picture for us of Saint John's itself? What is it like to live there, to visit, and so forth?
Pat Marker: Well, first of all, it's a beautiful campus. When you leave the highway and you exit to Saint John's, you can see this little bell tower. It looks like a little bell tower poking above the pine trees off in the distance. I guess when you first look at it, you wouldn't even think about it. You'd just say, "Oh, there's a tower out there." And then as you come along the winding road there's a lake on the right, and a lake on the left. And there's some trees growing there, and there's some farmland. And now I think there's some solar panels out in the area, but as you come through the trees, and it opens up into this just beautiful scene of this incredible abbey church, a big bell tower, just beautiful. On the right is the sports complex, or sorry, on the left is the sports complex, the Warner Palestra.
I remember coming there for the first time, and I remember, or not the first time, but when we used to go. I have to go back to my story about my parents. We moved there in 1981. Our summer vacations in 1976 was at Saint John's for the Human Life Center conferences. In '77 we went to the Human Life Center conferences. In '78 I think they held them in California. And in '80 we went to the Human Life Center conferences at Saint John's, that was our summer vacation. And we stayed at Saint Ben's. I would actually walk to Saint John's sometimes while my parents were in conferences and I slept in, or whatever, but I love the campus. We fished. We once caught over 200 sunfish at that lake in one day. It's just an incredible number of sunnies.
They've got this beautiful lake and surrounding. I mean, the campus. I'm not doing it justice because it's amazing, it's beautiful. And everything is connected. Not only is it connected and close by each other, but there are tunnels that run from place to place for the wintertime. And a lot of those are supposed to be secret tunnels, but they're not so secret anymore, but everything is there and everything is shared. When we would go to the cafeteria, the monks would be there. They have their own dining room, but they would like to come in and mingle with the commoners. And I think I actually worked for a time in the kitchen now that I think about it on one of the summers.
Everything is close. It's convenient whether you're going to the pool, or you're going to the lake, or you're going to the bookstore, or to our favorite place, which was the pinball machines in the basement of Mary Hall. I mean, there was so much to do, or we could go to the library, and this was the big thing, the Alcuin Library. And we used to love to go in there before I actually moved there. And we would look at the old ghost story videotapes. I remember there was a couple of different videotapes that were on the racks, and every summer we'd go and watch the same videos. This crack if you think of the old Stella Maris Chapel out on the water, there were cracks because of some ghost, or some spirit, or something. And we loved just the mystique of the place, but, again, I don't do it justice because if you've never been there, I would say go there, but I'd say don't get out, but it's beautiful.
It's just an amazing place. It's connected. I think for so long people have treasured their experience there, and they feel like they've been blessed, and so many people have, but what people don't realize even to this day is that so many people have not been blessed and as beautiful it is, and as beautiful as it looks, and as wonderful as it seems, there's a cloud that sits over the place because it's been a place of horror for so many people.
I loved Saint John's. I have told people many times that I look forward to the day when I can go to Saint John's and pick up a loaf of Johnnie bread and bring it home, but I can't do that. I love what it stood for. I don't love what it stands for now, but I still have hope at 57 years old before I die will have real transparency. And that's the number one thing you need to know about Saint John's is they have yet to tell the truth when it mattered.
Josh Newville: And so you've called your website Behind the Pine Curtain, which is also a phrase that's been used by locals to describe the university for a long time. Tell us about that.
Pat Marker: Well, Saint John's is actually a daughter house of a monastery in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Saint Vincent. Saint Vincent is the archabbey within the Benedictine churches and monasteries in the United States. Some monks from Saint Vincent went on a little trip West to see if they could found a new monastery. And you actually see it along the Mississippi River in Saint Cloud, that they had a temporary settlement there first, and they later claimed the land in Collegeville now. When they came to the Collegeville area there were no pine trees I believe the story goes. I could be wrong about this, but they planted pine trees all the way around their monastery area, and then continued. It's a beautiful forest. It's beautiful land. There's no question about it, but I remember being in high school, and in our school yearbook one of the recurring articles was Behind the Pine Curtain.
When the Star Tribune did a large expose on Saint John's in the early 2000s, they called their article Behind the Pine Curtain, so they used it as well. And really what it means is it's almost like Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And the monks wish that everything that happened behind the pine curtain would stay behind the pine curtain. And they're able to do that. They have their own post office, their own electrical plant, their own phone system. They have maybe I already said post office, but if they were cut off from the rest of the world, they would survive out there just fine for quite a while. And it truly is whether you want to consider it a standalone city, or a commune, it is self-supportive, and it has been for a long time.
Josh Newville: What is your experience with Saint John's? It sounds like you were a student there. Would you be willing to share with us?
Pat Marker: I started my high school career in Seattle, was going to a Catholic school there. And in the summer of 1991, my parents moved to Saint Joseph because my parents got a job at Saint John's. They had an office in the Quadrangle. They had offices next to monks, and they jumped right into the culture. So at age 16, we moved from my high school of 1,400 students, and my bell-bottoms and my long hair, and I started my junior year at Saint John's Prep School.
My story of being a victim at Saint John's begins almost from the first day of school when I was homesick. I didn't fit in immediately. And you could tell because I was distraught. I was not happy to be there. I knew I didn't fit in. It was a small school. I think there were fewer than 50 people in my class and relationships and bonds and cliques had been formed, and I didn't fit in right away. I was homesick. I couldn't hide that, so I was vulnerable. And that's the first part of the equation here is I was vulnerable.
I was befriended by a faculty member who was a monk, Father Dunston Moorse. He took me under his wing. He would allow me to come into his office. He would tell me to go up to the snack bar, talk to Peggy. Peggy Baron ran the snack bar. He said, "Go, just tell her, put a pizza on my account, come back to my office, and eat it if I'm there. If I'm not there, just go on in." There were two other students who he treated similarly, and both of those students were on the baseball team with me. And so I would see them from time to time, but really it was as much as possible he would try to have these conversations with me. And those conversations began talking about homesickness. And then it began talking about things more about the relationships that I had, or the relationship that I was having. I spent time with two different, wonderful people during my junior and senior years.
He wanted to know as much as he could about those relationships. There was nothing to share because that type of physical intimacy wasn't part of where I was at, at that point in my life. I knew that I would wait until I was married to have sex, and that wasn't a foreign concept, and that wasn't a difficulty for me at all, but he always wanted to talk about it. He wanted to talk to me about masturbation. He wanted to talk to me about condoms. And I said, "I don't have a use for either one of them. I'm okay. I don't need that right now. I don't need to have that discussion." But he was sure that I did.
This is going to trigger some of the people who dealt with Father Dunston. We would have these conversations and sometimes we'd talk about normal things, but I would get up from a conversation with him and he'd point at my groin and he'd say, "Keep it in your pants." And I would laugh at him and say, "Okay, it's not going anywhere." I trusted him. He was funny. He was helpful to me there's no question. And he helped me to be less homesick I'm sure. I didn't realize at the time, though, that he was grooming me the way he was. And so I'm going to fast forward at this point in the story. I'm going to fast forward six years to let you know how bad this got.
In 1989, I was teaching school in Minnesota. I believe I was in Hutchinson at the time, and I needed to go on a vacation. I knew that something was missing in my life. I was a mess. I couldn't understand why I was so anxious. I couldn't understand the adult relationship that I was having. I can tell you that I didn't make it to marriage before I had sex. And intimacy was horrifying for me because they were certain triggers that I would have, and I didn't understand them. I knew that something had happened to me in my life, and I didn't know what it was. And so for a long time, I said, "I've got to take this trip."
So in 1989, I went on this journey. I went back to Jamestown, North Dakota, and I visited with friends there. And then I went to Spokane, and I visited with my grandmother. And then I went back to my stomping grounds in Snohomish, Washington, and visited with friends there. I went to my Catholic school in Seattle, and my Catholic grade school in Everett. And I visited with my first grade teacher, Mrs. Clayton. We talked and we laughed. I knew I was missing something and I couldn't put my finger on it, so I went down to a church near Portland in Vancouver, Washington, where the priest who I had grown up with, Father Michael O'Brien, was saying mass. And I went to mass with Father O'Brien. I'm going to say it's a Saturday night mass.
I show up a little bit late and I'm sitting in the back because I had to sit in the back because I was sweating. Whether I was in a teacher's meeting, or at the theater, or at church, I had to sit in the back because it was too uncomfortable. I thought everybody was looking at me, that something was wrong, and nervous. I went to this church in Vancouver, Washington in the summer of 1989 and the priest during the sign of peace where everybody shakes hands and they say, "Peace be with you," and you give hugs and all that. Father O'Brien when I was a kid, he used to sing this song, Peace Is Flowing Like a River during the sign of peace.
And so that song came on and Father O'Brien came up and down the aisles. He loved to shake hands with people. As he started down the left hand aisle where I was in the back, and he didn't even know that I was there. I just showed up unannounced. And he starts walking down that aisle and I started bawling. I was a mess. He looked at me, he recognized me. He said, I don't remember exactly the words, but I met with him in his rectory later. We had dinner, a simple dinner. I don't know if I stayed at his house at the rectory, or if I stayed at a hotel, but that night I started having flashbacks and nightmares about what had happened to me.
For those people that think that memories can't be repressed I'm here to tell you that for six years, I don't recall a thing about what happened to me with Father Dunston, but I can tell you that it affected me in every single one of my relationships, and when it came out the worst, not the worst, but it came out backwards ways, like there were two homosexuals that I was on the same floor with in college. I was awful to those men. I remember going in, they were taking showers, and I would throw cold water and run away. I was just a pest to them because I didn't understand. I was homophobic to the extent that it was just mean. It was just awful.
I didn't know where that came from, but I started piecing things together after that night when I started having nightmares and flashbacks, and the nightmares and flashbacks only got worse. So that's a long story that takes me to the point where I called Father Dunston after I started to figure out what was going on with me. I knew that I needed counseling. I knew it. And this is 1989. I believe it was the late summer of '89 that I called him. It could have been into 1990. I could check my notes and see, but I know that at some point I called Father Dunston. He answered the phone. I told him who I was. He asked how I was doing. We had a little bit of a conversation. And then I said, "Father Dunston." I said, "You know what you did to me, and here I am."
This is how well he groomed me. I protected him. I said, "Father Dunston, I've gone through therapy. I just need help paying for it now because what happened to me, what you did to me wrecked my life." And I said, "But I've gone through therapy and I'm doing okay now." And Father Dunston said on the phone to me, he said, "Listen, Pat, I can't get you money because if they find out that I did it to somebody else, they'll kick me out of the church." And I didn't do anything about it for over a year. I protected him in telling him that I had finished counseling. And then I protected him for almost a year because I didn't want him to get in trouble for what he did to me, but not only me. He'd admitted to me that he did it to somebody else. I figured I was the only person. I just had bad luck. Maybe I did something to trigger him. Maybe I was at fault.
It didn't hit me until a year later I was sitting at a Perkins with my friend Mark. And we were at a teacher's conference, I believe, down in Eden Prairie. I was reading the USA Today, and there was a blurb in there about the Boston scandal, or, no, it wasn't the Boston scandal. It was the conference of bishops, I believe. And it talked about the prevalence, the numbers, the percentages of people who had been abused. I don't remember ever seeing those numbers before. I was shocked. All of a sudden I'm like, "Wait a minute. I need to do something about this. I may not be alone at the Prep School. I may not be alone."
Josh Newville: So if I understand correctly, you hired a lawyer shortly thereafter, and he asked you a question that ends up being pretty significant. What was that? And how did it shape your future such that myself and others are reaching out to you to better understand this scandal, and its potential connections to Josh?
Pat Marker: When I was asked the question, how many more are there? I immediately went into research mode, and I started making phone calls, and took notes, and phone calls, and took notes, and had more numbers and more numbers. Within a few months I had uncovered eight perpetrators and 42 victims. I thought that's a massive number. That's just unheard of. I created a website at some point called The Abuse Disclosure Project because I wanted people to find, I don't know if there was Google back then, I wanted people to find their perpetrator's name. I wanted to out these guys who had done this. And I thought, "Man, that's a lot of people."
Since then, I mean, we're talking 20 years later, more than 20 years later, 104 credibly accused people from the Collegeville area, and a database of well over 250 names, stories. Well, I guess you can decide for yourself whether it blows your mind. I had a woman call me a couple of years ago a few years back now, and she says, "You know what? I think my brother was abused by Francisco Schulte." I didn't tell her that I had already spoken with her brother. She was so worried that he had been. The brother had started a claim at some point against Saint John's. His brother called me, so two brothers and a sister. The two brothers didn't even know that each of them, or the other of them had come forward and said, "I'm a victim." That's not unheard of.
There's a family in Saint Cloud. Five members of the same family affected by the same clergy member who was at Saint John's for a while. They won't say a word because their parents were so involved with the Catholic church, and they don't want to embarrass their family. They think they will embarrass their family if they tell their truth. So instead they're quiet about it. I've spoken to so many family members. It's so sad to see what has happened to these families, and how families have been ruined, and how trust has been broken. In some cases, nobody wants to talk about it. That's the thing is that nobody, still, people don't want to talk about it because there's a stigma attached to it. There is a pain attached to it, and they don't want to burden their parents, or their family members with their story.
And so dealing with the victims and the stories, so many stories, I've been approached with details of other things that have happened on campus. And one of the things that happened on campus that scared the (beep) out of me was when Joshua Guimond disappeared because I knew immediately that based on the research and the discussions that I'd had, not only victims, but with priests, monks, with the abbot, I've had several sit-downs with Abbot Klassen. I've had phone calls with so many good men who left the monastery because they didn't want to be part of an immature compromised system. They came in, they wanted to be a good monk. They wanted to be a man of God. They wanted to serve. And that's not what Saint John's monastery had become.
When Joshua disappeared I knew that there would not be transparency. I knew that we would never know what we didn't know, and that there are so many players. There are so many moving parts that are not honest and true to the mission that they state, that we would never know what truly happened there. It requires that people break their silence. It requires that people put others before themselves. And it requires that you've got to take a risk. I mean, I've said so many times, we don't know what we don't know. Do I think that my list of 104 credibly accused adults on campus is complete? Not even close, not even close. I want to say there's hundreds more perpetrators, or accused perpetrators, credibly accused, but there are dozens more, but we'll never know.
Saint John's University has tried to detach itself from the scandal, but they can't because so many of the monks that worked at Saint John's University even while Josh was in school, they're perpetrators, and they have pasts, they have histories, and they have stories, but Saint John's University has never told those stories. There are lay professors and lay employees who aren't professors, just staff members, who have been credibly accused. Saint John's University has never said anything about that.
Not so long ago, I spoke to a young man who was molested by three members of the Saint John's University counseling department by Father Bruce Wollmering, by Father Finian McDonald, and by Dr. Anthony Tabor. Dr. Anthony Tabor's name has never been made public. There are others. I have it on my website, along with others from Saint John's who have been credibly accused, but Saint John's University refuses to take responsibility for those men and women who were at the university who had interactions with students, had inappropriate interactions with students, and they try to separate themselves from the abbey, but they can't because a lot of times they're 100% connected.
Sometimes there are monk faculty members, monk faculty residents. That's another role of the monks. And it exists today, I believe, that there are monks on the floors as faculty residents, as faculty advisors taking care of, and mentoring to young college students, and even in the Prep School dormitory. A lot of people don't realize that there are people that come from out of town that were boarding students at Saint John's Prep School and their faculty residents, their advisors were monks that lived in the same building and shared the same bathroom. I think that's the scariest part of all.
The night that Joshua Guimond disappeared he was at Metten Court. Metten Court, one of the faculty residents there was Father Tom Andert. If I were to put together a list of the top perpetrators at Saint John's, I would put Tom Andert near the top of that list. It's well-documented on the website, Tom Andert's relationship, and I put that in quotes with a young Prep School student named Ben. Ben was the son, I believe, of a classmate of Tom Andert. And Tom Andert said, "I will take care of your child." He reassured mom and dad, I believe, that he would take care of him while he was at the Prep School. Ben tried to commit suicide, ended up in the hospital. First person by his side was Tom Andert. I spoke with Ben at length. Ben told me about dinners and drinking, touring gay bars down in Minneapolis. There's no question that what Tom Andert was doing with this Prep School student was inappropriate.
I've spoken with the son of another of Tom Andert's classmates. And he described in graphic detail what happened to him with Tom Andert. There are three or four other stories involving Tom Andert. I've been sworn to secrecy on a couple of them, but I'll just tell you that Tom Andert, and I don't know what his rationale was, but he went after the sons of his classmates and he went after, and I'll just say this in general so as to not give away too much information, he went after the sons of prominent Minnesotans. The fact that his name and his file is not on the Minnesota Transparency Initiative tells me all I need to know about Saint John's, and how transparent they truly are. Tom Andert should be nowhere near a high school or college student, and should have been separated from them years ago.
We don't know what we don't know. We don't know if Joshua Guimond had interactions with Father Tom Andert. We don't know if he had interactions and what his relationship was with the resident advisor at his own dorm, Father Jerome Tupa. Jerome Tupa has been on my radar for some time, not only because of his artwork, which by all accounts has to be seen as pornographic. I mean, the fact that he was able to post these images on a website and make them for sale while he was the pastor at the church in Saint Joseph just blows my mind, but that's a whole nother topic, but over the years, I've had two reports of inappropriate behavior by Jerome Tupa. The fact that Tom Andert was at Metten Court, and Jerome Tupa was in the buildings near Joshua, or at the building that Joshua lived in scares me. I don't know that there's a connection. There is a connection because they were there, and they're part of the community of monks that is full of compromise and deceit, and not at all of transparency.
Because we don't know, we have to look at all of the different possibilities. The possibilities they have to include the people that he was most closely associated with, and the people in his area, and to look past the dozens of men who were on campus at the time is negligent. I didn't realize until listening to your podcast how vulnerable Josh seems to be at this time. I had no idea. I remember when I heard in one of your earlier podcasts that he was exploring his sexuality, I think was the phrase. And to me, that's not only a red flag. Those are red flashing lights, because what these monks at Saint John's have they're proficient at is finding vulnerabilities. And if it's a vulnerability involving one's sexuality, man, you're in trouble. That's been my experience in talking to victims is that you are in trouble.
Josh Newville: It's interesting you say that. I've received a number of tips about various monks and Saint John's University faculty members. And one tipster in particular told me about a monk named Finian McDonald, a psychology professor whose files have largely been released on the Minnesota Transparency Initiative. The tipster went to school around the same time as Josh and told me that McDonald was known to informally counsel college men who were questioning their sexuality. And so this is informal, right? Not formal. I found that really concerning, especially, in light of the revelations about his misconduct.
Pat Marker: Because these men are leaders until you know what you know about them you don't know that these guys are master manipulators. They will tell you exactly what you need to hear. They will look at a group, they'll look at a classroom of 30 students, and they'll realize that 15 of them may react to this set of words, and that of those 10 they'll do another test until they've whittled down to three kids that they think they have a possibility of affecting, and then they'll give them the attention. And all they need is one, two to succumb, but they've been taught through their life at the monastery what they need to do to be successful in manipulating, and then molesting students, taking advantage of students, not always molesting, not every monk at Saint John's is a child molester, or a sexual predator, but far more than there need to be, and that is sometimes a learned behavior.
I have no doubt that my perpetrator learned his behavior. I believe because of my experience at the Prep School that there was often a competition among the monks regarding the type of student that you were associated with, that you palled around with, that was seen hanging around your resident advisor room, or after your classroom, or on walks, or anywhere. If you were seen out eating dinner with this student, or that student the other monks took notice, and you were recognized for that, I believe. And so a high profile student like Josh, who had everything going for him, was popular, friendly, funny, smart, he was a leader. There's no question about that. It scares me to think that Josh, with all of his strengths, that all of his strengths might have made him a target. And, again, we don't know what we don't know, but I do know that Saint John's hasn't been transparent.
I do know that there are men on campus who have records, who have allegations, and we don't know how deep those allegations run because for a lot of the time it's been just me trying to get that information out there. I would love for more people to come forward and say, "This is what happened to me." And it may not make sense in Josh's case, it may not solve Josh's case, but any information about compromise and misconduct, and the failure of leadership at Saint John's will help others. And it will help tell the story, and it will help validate the experiences of other students and people who have had bad things, horrible things happen to them in Collegeville.
Do I believe that they had something to do with Joshua's disappearance? I don't have enough information to make that call. Do I believe that if they knew anything about Josh's disappearance, foul play by another monk, that they would tell the truth about it and not cover it up? I don't believe it for a second. I believe if they have information about Joshua, that they will like so many of the other monks there, they will be quiet. They will circle the wagons, and they will not tell what they know because Saint John's cannot handle another scandal.
Josh Newville: So, speaking of scandals, it seems like the Saint John's monk abuse scandal really started blowing up in the '90s, and especially in the summer and fall of 2002. As you know we've discovered a very concerning internet search on Josh's computer from October of 2002. Can you talk about that?
Pat Marker: Well, just a week or two before that search was performed on Josh's computer, there was a settlement between Saint John's Abbey, and several victims of abuse. And one of the parts of that agreement, one of the noneconomic demands was that Saint John's would create an external review board, so September 27th that was reported in the Star Tribune, and in the Pioneer Press on October 2nd. The headline was Saint John's Abbey and Abuse Victims Agree to Settlement. So for Josh to have Googled, or someone on his computer to have Googled on October 3rd, quote, Saint John's Abbey statute of limitations conspiracy, that doesn't surprise me at all. He may have just wanted to learn more about what was going on. I think he wasn't searching for the settlement. He wasn't searching for the review board, but it's interesting that he used statute of limitations because that would tell me that he believes a clock might be ticking somewhere on something.
Conspiracy is an interesting word for him, or somebody to have typed in. It's just an interesting word to include in the search because I think Saint John's Abbey conspiracy, is it a conspiracy against them, or this big conspiracy involving them? There's just so many different ways that this search could be construed, but I think it's interesting when you think about some of the other theories and things that have been said about the case with what Josh may, or may not have known about a monk abuse scandal at Saint John's, but it makes me wonder what he knew, and when he knew it as they say.
Josh Newville: Well, I can shed some light on some of that. Josh's mom, Lisa, and his paternal grandparents, Gene and Marge, they have both confirmed that Josh was very angry about the monk abuse scandal. In separate conversations with them, including one with his grandparents at Saint John's family weekend just a few weeks before Josh's disappearance, he specifically complained about allegations that the abbey would shelter some of these monks who had been accused of sexual misconduct by sending them off to places like the Bahamas. And he apparently complained about the monks living on supposed restrictions right there on campus amongst everyone. And he told them that he wanted to write a paper on the topic.
Now, statute of limitations is a legal concept. Obviously, we know that Josh was really interested in the law. While we haven't been able to find any evidence that he was actually writing a paper on the topic at that time, or at the time of his disappearance we should recall that Josh was only in his first semester of his junior year. And so perhaps this internet search is evidence of that initial brainstorming, and he was thinking about writing this his senior year, or something, but putting that aside for a moment. There's another internet search that Josh performed that also suggests a possible link to the scandal. And I don't want to be too specific, but let's just say that it was very sexual in nature and raises an alarming concern about whether Josh himself might have been the victim of sex abuse at the hands of a monk.
Pat Marker: I don't think you can search what he's searching for unless, I mean, you have to be aware. There has to be an awareness in him that clergy are acting in non-clerical ways in order to make that search. That's a lot more specific. And it would tell me that he has information, and that he has a history either of hearing, seeing, or participating in something that is not a normal experience, or conversation that people would have.
Josh Newville: Let's talk briefly about alcohol. I've received a number of reports that there were monks at the time of Josh's disappearance who would regularly abuse alcohol, some alone, some with other monks, and some even with students themselves, including by the way, monks that lived with students. Can you talk about that? Were you surprised by this? Because I certainly was.
Pat Marker: It's been a known problem there for a long time. I don't know where they're at now in getting it under control, but a lot of the monks have been treated for alcoholism, and a great number have, also, their own lives have been devastated by alcohol either given to them by an older monk, or just in their own life they have relied on alcohol in order to numb the feelings and emotions that go along with being in such a compromised community. In 1980, there was an article written, and it's featured on the Behind the Pine Curtain website, but a woman named Margaret wrote this back in 1980 for a publication called The Gay Community News. And she says, "That alcoholism is a very serious problem among the monks at Saint John's and is probably connected to the suppression of homoerotic feelings. These monks who cannot act on their sexual feelings are probably intensely jealous of those who do."
And she goes on about that, but she was on campus for quite a while, and she was able as a lay female to identify that alcoholism was an issue at Saint John's and it played a part. It could have played a part in my abuse. It didn't because I didn't drink, or smoke, still haven't smoked yet. I've had a few drinks, but back in the high school, I didn't drink until the weekend before our high school graduation. And even this priest was unable to get me to do that, but it certainly played a part in many of the stories of those abuse victims that I've documented. And it doesn't surprise me because whatever the priests, and other even lay faculty members could use to lower the inhibitions of their victims they would use that tool, and alcohol was just one of those tools.
Josh Newville: We're not aware of any evidence that Josh formally sought counseling, or anything like that, but what do we know about what his options would have been for doing something like that?
Pat Marker: Well, so first of all, the monks are regarded by most people when you go to Saint John's, or when you're at Saint John's as men of faith and of wisdom. And that, especially, as a priest, you should be able to go to them, not only confess your sins, but to discuss life. And so just by having a black robe it puts you in a position of authority, there's authority there, and people talk to you as a monk. And so that's the first line of possible communication that you can have regarding your issues and problems and just your life. So that's one piece of it, but then there's, also, you could go to the health department, actually, to the nurse, or to the clinic at Saint John's and you could talk to somebody there, and perhaps they would refer you to any number of psychologists that are in the health center that have actual experience and degrees in helping and providing therapy.
What Bruce Wollmering was doing is he was using his role as a psychology professor and the chair of the psychology department. And he had done counseling in the past for some time. He was using his position to talk to students, his own students in a therapy type situation, and he was admonished for it according to documents I've seen on a couple of occasions. "You cannot keep counseling this student. It is a violation and it is unethical." And so there's several different ways that people could have gone. If Josh was struggling, if Josh had questions about his grades, or life, or anything, there were a lot of different people he could go to. We believe that he had conversations with Brother Willie that would not be out of the norm. That would be something that a lot of people would do.
He could have gone to the health department. He could have gone to one of his professors, and they're not going to say, "No, I'm not going to talk to you about this," but Josh would have had, any student at Saint John's would have had several options to talk to a number of people on campus who could have had those conversations. And, hopefully, and this is where it scares me. Hopefully, if they realized that they were overmatched, and they weren't able to help him steered him into the right direction. That's another thing that I find unlikely to have happened given the people that he might have gone to with those issues if he went to Bruce Wollmering, or if he had spent any time with Father Bob Koopmann in a musical environment, any number of people that he would have had contact with that he could have gotten some help from.
Josh Newville: You mentioned Bruce Wollmering, and Robert Koopmann. I want to start with Wollmering. A student charged him with sexual harassment during the same school year that Josh went missing. That report is detailed in his files, which I will link to via the media tab on our message board at simplyvanished.com, but recently I have also received a report from another student who went to school with Josh, who was preyed on by Wollmering in the summer of 2002. Luckily, for that student, another university employee stepped in and warned him about Wollmering early on, but to this day he's horrified by what might have happened had that employee not helped him out. And on top of that, or all of this, and more, Wollmering ends up dying in 2009 under mysterious circumstances. Can you tell us a little bit more about him in that?
Pat Marker: In fact, one of the early theories that came out was that Bruce Wollmering might have had something to do with Joshua's disappearance because Bruce Wollmering was known, and has been credibly accused time and time again of approaching and getting far too friendly with students, and in some cases just flat-out sexually offending with them. And there was a note right after Joshua disappeared, there was a note put on Bruce Wollmering's door that he was off for a few days, and he was going to be going up to the cabin, or something. And so there were early theories that might have been one possible lead that Father Bruce Wollmering. And this was before, and that's an interesting thing to bring up because Saint John's was so afraid that there might be a connection between Josh Guimond, and Father Bruce Wollmering to the point where when I was on the external review board, I quit the external review board.
I resigned in protest because Saint John's, because Abbot John Klassen, they would not publicize Bruce Wollmering's name. And this is in 2006. This is four years later. They still, even though they had hard factual evidence that Bruce Wollmering had offended time and time again, they refused to make his name public. And the reason why they didn't want to make his name public by Abbot John Klassen's own memo it says, "They're not going to make Saint John's University, Department of Psychology chair, we're not going to make his name public because of the affect it will have on capital campaign and on enrollment." Oh, and by the way, if his name is made public, it might be connected to the Joshua Guimond disappearance and Abbot John Klassen is afraid that he would not be able to lead in that environment.
One of the most curious things about Bruce was that when he died, well, first of all, it was considered an accident down in the monastic locker room. The people who know the locker room they're skeptical whether it went down as the authorities say. I remember talking with Richard Sipe, a monk at Saint John's who ended up leaving and then provided counseling. He ended up marrying a nun. He lived in California. He was featured in the movie Spotlight. And I remember talking to Richard about that. And he said, "There's just no way that it happened the way it went down." And that's another, we don't know what we don't know.
Now the medical examiner considers it to be an accident, so we'll go with that, but what's interesting is that Bruce Wollmering when he died, Stearns County Sheriff taped off his room, they took his computer. So, I mean, if you have an accidental slip and fall, you bang your head on the back of some locker, or some bench and you die, I mean, if that happened to me, I doubt that the authorities are going to show up, tape off my house, and take my computer. So they were searching for something.
I mean, was the Wollmering death suspect? It was for a lot of people, but the fact that they went and taped off his room, and took things from his room was, I mean, again, there's more questions there than there are answers that's for sure, because we don't know what they were looking for, or what they found, but that's a strange deal there because he had so many victims not just at the monastery, but outside the monastery as well. And he was counseling and he was told "Don't counsel students. You are counseling inappropriately." When he had to step down from his position as chair of the psychology department at Saint John's he was allowed to do so with grace. People didn't know what he had done. I don't even know if the board of psychology is aware of what he did, but the whole thing was shady.
In 2006, an article came out when they, finally, after I resigned from the external review board there was an article. And it said, "That new allegations shock Saint John's Abbey." Well, they didn't shock Saint John's Abbey because Saint John's Abbey had known about Bruce Wollmering for years, and did nothing. They let him continue to be in a place of power. They let him continue to be associated with students, and then he dies, and then his room is taped off. And, again, more questions than answers. And, again, we don't know what we don't know, but, boy, would I like to know more about Bruce Wollmering, and his relationship with students, and certainly whether he had any interaction with Josh would be of interest to me.
Josh Newville: You also mentioned Robert Koopmann. I've had multiple tipsters bring up his name as someone to take a closer look at, including a particularly concerning report that Koopmann had an inappropriate relationship with a student. And I want to be more specific on that, but first let me ask you, are you aware of any allegations of misconduct against Koopmann? Who by the way, goes on in the years following Josh's disappearance to become the president of Saint John's University, at some point.
Pat Marker: I think the best way to describe Bob Koopmann would be to read you a text message that I received in 2016 from a former monk. And in that text message this former monk writes to Bob Koopmann. He says, "I sent him an email once telling him one day his secrets would be made public and his hypocrisy would do him in. Two weeks later, he decided to resign from his position as president of SJU. Still, the one guy I know for sure he performed oral sex on in the abbey who is no longer a monk will not say a word. He's still very loyal to the order." So, yeah, to answer your question, yes, I'm aware that Bob had relationships and was forming additional relationships. I've seen emails from victims. I've seen an email from Abbot John Klassen. I've seen an email that a victim forwarded to me from their attorney in the Minneapolis area that show that Bob Koopmann was pursuing students inappropriately.
The fact that you tell me that Father Bob Koopmann had a relationship with a student who Joshua knew that doesn't surprise me at all because those are the stories that I have been told about Bob Koopmann. Again, I'm surprised that you were able to hear that from outside of my world, and that tells me that people are starting to talk, and these are the conversations that need to take place. And so whoever provided you with that information, thank goodness. Thank you for doing that.
Josh Newville: Well, and there are really two especially concerning aspects of this report that I received about that inappropriate relationship itself. First, the student was someone in Josh's immediate orbit. Second, that student later goes on to work at Saint John's himself, and then stunningly, it sounds like he was also accused of sexual misconduct. Is that right?
Pat Marker: Yeah. He was associated with Saint John's for some time, and I'm aware of his misconduct with several individuals.
Josh Newville: Okay. Well, that's all the time we have for today. I'll just summarize, I guess, by saying that, although, we don't have any solid evidence connecting Josh's disappearance to the Saint John's monk sex abuse scandal, and it's very possible that it's in no way connected, there certainly seems to be a lot more evidence than I ever imagined, connecting Josh, potentially, to the scandal itself. And that is why we have to consider this as yet another potential path. And so we obviously will continue to explore other leads, some of which we've already discussed, but this is another one that needs to be in the hopper for consideration, so. With that I will let you go and I'll see you on the message board at simplyvanished.com and on October 3rd for episode number seven. Thank you very much.