Minnesota priest gets 1 year for sexual misconduct

Minnesota priest gets 1 year for sexual misconduct Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A judge has sentenced a Roman Catholic priest to a year in jail for criminal sexual conduct involving a female parishioner.

Judge Margaret Marrinan on Wednesday ordered that 47-year-old Christopher Wenthe of Delano be taken into custody immediately.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the judge agreed to a defense request for a sentence lower than the four years called for in state guidelines. She reasoned that if Wenthe were in prison, he wouldn't be able to pay restitution of up to $90,000 and the $30,000 fine that she also ordered.

A jury convicted Wenthe of engaging in illegal sexual conduct with the victim in late 2003, when she sought spiritual counseling. At the time, Wenthe was working at a St. Paul church.

His attorney plans an appeal.

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