Supreme Court rejects appeal of Minnesota priest

The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a Minnesota priest who was convicted of having sex with a woman who was seeking his spiritual advice.

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The justices on Monday left in place the sexual misconduct conviction of the Rev. Christopher Wenthe. The priest was convicted in 2011 of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with the woman at a meeting in which she sought counseling in 2003.

State law makes it a felony for clergy members to have sex with people they are spiritually advising. Wenthe acknowledged that he and the woman had a 15-month sexual relationship, but he denied that he was providing spiritual aid in those months.

An intermediate appeals court threw out the conviction, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reinstated it in June.

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