A local Catholic priest was arrested Thursday and is being charged with felony criminal sexual conduct, according to the Pioneer Press.
Christopher Thomas Wenthe, 46, was jailed in Ramsey County District Court with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and could face five years, the Star Tribune reported.
Wenthe has served at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul, was the parochial vicar of the St. Michael/St. Mary parish in Stillwater in October 2006, and was once a pastor of the Delano Catholic Community, the Pioneer Press reported.
A woman, whose name was not released, told police that Wenthe was a counselor to her when she converted to Catholicism in 2003. In her early 20s at the time, she had confession with Wenthe at least four times. Sometimes he took her to a private room in the church rectory, according to the Pioneer Press.
The woman filed a report in April 2010 to St. Paul police claiming the abuse, including sodomy and oral sex, occured between Nov. 1, 2003, and Feb. 28, 2005. The report said Wenth had sexual contact with the woman about every two weeks, according to the Star Tribune.
"I remember pleading with him that we should stop," the letter said The first sexual contact occured when Wente invited the woman to her apartment and embraced her, evenutally asking her to perform oral sex. "He made me feel like I had done this to him and that I was obligated to finish the job. After I complied, he turned from me, trembling and crying, repeating over and over that we were going to hell and his priesthood was over; that God could never forgive this, then he apologized," the Star Tribune reported.
The woman, who has a history of sexual abuse and suffered from bulimia, wrote to a high-ranking person in the archdiocese in the fall of 2006. The archdiocese found out about the incidents in September 2005 and offered the woman counseling and therapy. They gave her the option to go to the police, which she intially didn't take, according to the Star Tribune.
Wenthe was "allowed to return to active ministry with certain conditions and restrictions" after a psychological evaluation and treatment in August 2006, the archdicoese said in a released statement, the Star Tribune reported.
"No complaints or incidents have been made over the past five years of his ministry," the statement said, according to the Star Tribune.
Members of the clergy and those they are counseling are forbidden by state law from sexual contact with each other, the Pioneer Press reported.