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Supreme Court reinstates conviction for priest accused of having sex with woman he counseled

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Supreme Court has reinstated a sexual misconduct conviction for a St. Paul priest accused of having sex with a woman who was seeking his spiritual advice.

Christopher Wenthe was convicted in 2011 of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for incidents dating back to 2003 while he was working at Nativity of Our Lord church in St. Paul. Last year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial, but on Wednesday the Supreme Court disagreed and reinstated his conviction.

State law makes it a felony for clergy members to have sex with people they are spiritually advising.

Wenthe didn't dispute the relationship, but denied the encounters occurred while he was providing spiritual aid.

Wenthe has not been in active ministry while the case was pending.

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