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Minnesota Court Upholds Clergy Sex-Misconduct Law

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld a state law that deems it a felony for clergy members to have sex with people they’re advising on spiritual matters.

The court on Wednesday reversed a state Court of Appeals ruling granting a new trial to Catholic priest Christopher Wenthe.

In 2011, Wenthe was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a woman when she sought spiritual counseling.

In a two-part ruling, the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that Minnesota’s clergy sexual conduct statute is constitutional, and that religion was not excessively entangled in Wenthe’s conviction.
Reports say Justice Alan Page dissented on both counts. Page reasoned that the state law is unconstitutional. The case was sent back to the Court of Appeals to resolve other issues.

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