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Appeals Court orders new trial for St. Paul priest

Appeals Court orders new trial for St. Paul priest Click to Enlarge Photo: Stockbyte, Photos.com

Apr 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

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 and had no immediate comment. Wenthe's attorney didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

JW Cox

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