By Ryan Gueningsman
RAMSEY COUNTY, MN Fr. Christopher Wenthe, 46, the former pastor of the Delano Catholic Community, had his first court appearance Feb. 18 on a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with an adult.
Paul Gustafson of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said a plea was not entered at this hearing, and said the judge set bail at $15,000. Court records show Wenthe posted bond and is not in custody.
A no-contact order was also issued that prevents Wenthe from having contact with the alleged victim in this case, Gustafson said.
Wenthe’s next court appearance is an omnibus hearing scheduled for Friday, March 25 in Ramsey County District Court.
The reported incidents that led to the charge being filed occurred between November 2003 and February 2005, when Wenthe was working at Nativity Church in St. Paul, according to documents.
Wenthe came to Delano in May 2009.
The charge was filed in Ramsey County, and a press release from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said it is a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge stemming from allegations he engaged in unlawful sexual relations with a woman who was receiving religious or spiritual advice and aid from him.