Priest found guilty of sexual misconduct with adult woman

| November 22, 2011 | 2 Comments

The Nov. 15 verdict by a Ramsey County jury finding Father Christopher Wenthe guilty of third degree sexual misconduct as a result of a sexual relationship with a young adult woman “represents the conclusion of a serious boundary violation that should never have been committed,” the archdiocese said in a statement issued the same day.

Father Wenthe had been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. The charge relates to sexual conduct “which occurs during a period in which a member of the clergy is meeting with the person to provide religious or spiritual advice, aid or comfort in private.”

Father Wenthe was found guilty of having sex with the woman in 2003 while he was serving as associate priest of Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul and while he was providing her spiritual counsel and advice.

The priest was acquitted of a second count that alleged that he continued having sex with the woman from November 2003 to February 2005, while she was still receiving religious or spiritual help.

He is free on bond while waiting for sentencing Dec. 14.

“The archdiocese regrets the pain and suffering that the woman has suffered and continues to offer her assistance and care,” the statement said.

It also said that after the woman reported the sexual relationship to the archdiocese in 2005, Father Wenthe admitted the relationship but denied criminal wrongdoing. He was returned to active ministry with certain restrictions and conditions after he underwent psycho­logical assessment and treatment and a review by the Clergy Review Board, according to the statement.

He was removed from active ministry after the woman took the case to the police in 2010, according to the archdiocese.

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Category: Local News

  • Truth

    Grossly immoral, Yes.
    Illegal, Never (not this case).
    Jury did not buy her story of ongoing sexual misconduct, i.e. acquitted on 1 charge, covering the entirety of the 15 mo relationship.
    This case isn’t about criminality or justice, rather revenge.And God does not honor that.
    In her own mental health records (public knowledge: MNCIS) she stated she was “hoping he would do something to her” — deliberately went out of her way to seek him out, to initiate a relationship with him. Jury saw right through that. Prosecution bombed.
    Found guilty on one count of providing spiritual aid, etc in private while engaging in relations, which really amounted to emotional support (at best, not spiritual) and body heat, which she sought after that evening. And has the audacity to blame, destroy another’s soul. Because why? Peel back the layers and deal with the true reasons charges were brought up at all.
    God does not honor lies, half truths. And although it’s grievously unfortunate the past abuse, eating disorder suffered (been there myself), it is Not okay to find another human being (Father Wenthe) and use him as a “whipping boy”.
    “Victim” — prostrate yourself. Examine your conscience, intent, motivation to publically, personally destroy another human’s soul. Meanwhile sitting back gloating in a lowcut dress, cheerfully celebrating with a glass of wine for months via facebook. The heart is not right.
    God does not bless wicked intentions. Vengence is His, not ours. Also, kindly ask your lawyer boyfriend to seek a confessor too. Recant. Repent. Speak truth. And stop the smear campaign.
    Immoral, Absolutely (for both).
    Illegal, Not at all.
    Do what is right.
    ~Continued Peace & Prayers~

  • Tom4Lt

    During his time at St. Michael’s, I found Fr. Wenthe to be kind and considerate.  What he did, however, is grievously wrong, harmful, and criminal.  He is being held accountable for that.  Archbishop Nienstadt’s counsel to the woman involved, that she “trust the shepherds of the church” in their rehabilitation of Fr. Wenthe, is absurd.  Thankfully, she ignored the Archbishop.