St. Paul: Former priest convicted of sex with parishioner gets new trial

Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
Posted: 11/26/2012

A former St. Paul priest convicted of having sex with a 21-year-old penitent has won a new trial.

Christopher Wenthe, formerly of Nativity of Our Lord parish in St. Paul, was convicted in November 2011 of criminal sexual conduct in a case that involved a female parishioner. He was sentenced to a year in the Ramsey County workhouse and was released early for good behavior.

He appealed the conviction.

On Monday, Nov. 26, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and sent the case back to Ramsey County District Court for a new trial.

Wenthe, now 48, got sexually involved with the young woman after she sought his advice and guidance in her struggles with an eating disorder and past sexual abuse. She said that he took advantage of her vulnerability and that she trusted him because he was a priest.

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