By Ryan Gueningsman
RAMSEY COUNTY, MN Former Delano Catholic Community priest Rev. Christopher Wenthe, 46, was convicted Tuesday of one count of third-degree criminal sexual misconduct in a Ramsey County court.
Wenthe will appear for sentencing Wednesday, Dec. 14.
He was convicted of a charge that alleged he engaged in illegal sexual conduct with the victim in November or December 2003, during a time when she sought spiritual advice and counsel from him, according to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.
He was acquitted of a second charge that he engaged in continuing illegal sexual conduct with the victim until February 2005. Wenthe was working at Nativity Church in St. Paul at the time.
“It is a sobering occasion when our office has to bring charges against a member of the clergy, but our obligation is to always protect victims and seek justice, without fear or favor,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “The defendant abused the trust that comes with his position and violated the law, and thus we believe the jury in this case reached a correct and just verdict.”
Wenthe came to Delano in May 2009. He was ordained May 31, 2003, and prior to coming to Delano, Wenthe worked at Nativity in St. Paul, St. Michael’s in Pine Island, St. Paul’s in Zumbrota, and St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s in Stillwater, according to newspaper archives.
He was arrested Feb. 17.