Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Minn. Supreme Court upholds priest's conviction in sexual misconduct case

Author:

A priest convicted of criminal sexual conduct will not get a new trial, according to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling released Wednesday.

The state's high court says Rev. Christopher Wenthe, 49, formerly affiliated with Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, violated the state's clergy sex statute when he had a sexual relationship with a 21-year-old female parishoner, the Pioneer Press reports.

The newspaper says the law makes it a felony for a priest to have sexual contact with anyone who is seeking or receiving spiritual advice or comfort in private.

Wenth admitted during his trial in Ramsey County District Court to having a relationship with the woman over 18 months. The victim testified that she confided in Wenthe about her struggles with an eating disorder and previous sexual abuse, but the priest maintained that sexual conduct did not occur while the woman was seeking spiritual aid.

In 2011, a jury found Wenthe guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to a year in the Ramsey County workhouse and was released early for good behavior.

Last year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned Wenthe's conviction, saying it was based on evidence entangle in matters of religion, which violates the First Amendment separating church and state. The case was sent back to district court, prompting the Ramsey County attorney to ask the state Supreme Court to rule.

The Star Tribune said the case will go back to the state appellate court for issues that weren't addressed when Wenthe was granted a new trial such as whether Wenthe knew he was breaking the law when he engaged in the relationship.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild's comeback bid comes up short against Panthers

The Wild came close to another come-from-behind victory.

Chris Autman-Bell

Gophers keep division title hopes alive, throttle Indiana

Chris Autman-Bell caught two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over the Hoosiers.

u.s. attorney

New Hope man found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Said Maye was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder in Hennepin County District Court.

Screen Shot 2021-11-20 at 8.00.04 AM

4 children missing from home in Twin Cities are found safe

Police are seeking help finding the four siblings.

Robert Dale Veldkamp and Derek Jon Haehnel, state trooper

2 state troopers die of cancer within two days of each other

Rob Veldkamp and Derek Haehnel were 49 and 36, respectively.

Jamal Smith

Accused Hwy 169 shooter loses phone privileges over alleged witness tampering

Jamal Smith is charged with fatally shooting a youth coach this past July.

pixabay - covid vaccine record card

COVID-19 booster shots now available to all Minnesota adults

Gov. Tim Walz's announcement qualifies around 1.7 million people in Minnesota for a booster shot.

Willians Astudillo

Twins release Astudillo, add Lewis, Miranda to 40-man roster

The Twins also signed Jake Cave to a one-year deal.

bentleyville lights duluth 2020 - Kristian's Photos Flickr

Welcome back, Bentleyville: Beloved Tour of Lights returns

The Duluth event is back to being a walkthrough show this year.

Lake COuntry Power linemen photo - 11.17.21

Woman rescued from icy water by men who spotted overturned car

Her car hit a slick spot, went off the road, and flipped — landing in 4 feet of water.

Related