Twin Cities Priest Convicted of Sex Abuse

November 16, 2011

A Ramsey County jury convicted a Catholic priest Tuesday of sexual misconduct involving a woman he was counseling at a St. Paul church.

46-year-old Rev. Christopher Wenthe will be sentenced on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct next month.

According the the criminal complaint, the woman first met Wenthe at Nativity of Our Lord Church in St. Paul in 2003 when she was converting to Catholicism. The complaint says she asked him to provide her spiritual counseling as she dealt with past abuse and disorders.

The woman told investigators Wenthe made sexual advances at her and engaged in illegal sexual conduct with her during the time she asked for counseling. He was acquitted of a second charge that he engaged in continuing illegal sexual conduct with the woman until February 2005.

According to the complaint, Wenthe testified he had a sexual relationship with the woman but denied providing spiritual counseling when the sex occurred. He says he went to treatment in 2004, after being confronted by the Archdiocese. According to the complaint, he was later reinstated as a priest and assigned to a church in Stillwater. He most recently served at a parish in Delano.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.