I'm brand new to this forum. What brought me here is a Google search looking for any updates on Josh Guimond. I'm a mid-80's graduate of St. John's University who can't bring himself to return to the campus for special events due to my suspicion that monks from the Abbey may have had something to do with Josh's disappearance. Even 30+ years ago as a student at SJU, I was aware that there were monks serving as professors and Faculty Residents in the dorms who were either grooming students or who were actively attempting to initiate sexual contact with University students. The term "grooming" wasn't in the popular vernacular at the time, but I was aware of monks who attempted to cross the instructor-student boundaries and become too familiar with some of my fellow students.
The monks were Fr. Bruce Wolmering and Fr. Finian McDonald, who creeped me out at the time and were later identified as having credible accusations of sexual abuse. I knew Wolmering through a friend/apartment mate and I knew of McDonald through the same person. I had a weird vibe with Bruce - superficial, cordial social interactions with an unspoken mutual dislike between us. I had a sense of his predatory nature and what he was trying to do with some of my friends and acquaintances and I sensed that he knew that I knew as well, which created a palpable wariness around each other. I've come to believe that Wolmering was simply evil.
There are certainly numerous other monks who also have had credible accusations of sexual abuse claimed against them since my years at St. John's. The fact that I know that the Abbey housed confirmed sexual predators makes me wonder about the possibility that one or more of these sexual predators may have escalated their crimes and predatory behavior to something beyond sexual abuse. It's what I know about St. John's combined with what I fear as actual possibilities that continue to make me sad and frustrated about Josh's disappearance. I also hope for closure and justice for Josh's dad and other friends and family.
While I obviously have no physical evidence linking Josh's disappearance to the Abbey, there is just so much circumstantial evidence that points in that direction. The circumstantial evidence combined with the refusal to conduct an adequately thorough search for physical evidence in the Abbey and on its grounds immediately following Josh's disappearance and the subsequent refusal by the Abbey and/or law enforcement to release any evidence found on Josh's computer or anything related to Wolmering certainly adds fuel to the fire.
of what I believe we know that could be relevant to Josh's disappearance:
- There were many unidentified sexual predators living on the campus prior to and at the time of Josh's disappearance, including Bruce Wolmering and Finian McDonald.
- Josh was working on a project related to sexual abuse by priests at St. John's prior to his disappearance.
- At the time of Josh's disappearance, Wolmering was SJU faculty and presumably had much to lose by having his predatory past exposed.
- Josh disappeared in November of 2002 with no trace of his body recovered.
- Law enforcement search efforts focus on the lakes in the area.
- Search dog follows Josh's scent to Abbey buildings and grounds.
- Stearns County Law Enforcement continues to focus on lakes despite search dog indicating on the Abbey.
- Extensive search of lakes turn up no signs of Josh.
- Continued search access to the Abbey is denied. Josh's family's relationship with the Abbey turns adversarial.
- 2004 Wolmering is forced to resign as an instructor as a result of a student's 2003 claim of sexual harassment.
- 2009 Wolmering falls and dies under unusual circumstances within the Abbey.