Appeals Court Orders New Trial for St. Paul Priest
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Appeals Court is reversing a sexual misconduct conviction and ordering a new trial for a St. Paul priest accused of having sex with a woman seeking spiritual advice.
The Appeals Court says the lower court made several errors during Christopher Wenthe’s trial.
Wenthe was convicted in 2011 of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a woman reported a relationship with the priest that happened years earlier.
The Appeals Court says the trial judge should have told jurors they had to unanimously agree on a single meeting during which the crime occurred. In addition, prosecutors had to prove Wenthe knew the meeting had a religious purpose.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office was reviewing the opinion. Wenthe’s attorney says the priest is thankful for the court’s decision.