Delano Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse

A Delano priest has been charged on Thursday with sexually abusing a woman he used to counsel from 2003 to 2005.

The Rev. Christopher Wenthe, 46, serves as pastor of St. Peter's and St. Joseph's parishes in Delano.

The woman, 29, reported the abuse to St. Paul police in April 2010, although she personally told an unnamed high-ranking archdiocese official in a 2006 letter, according to the Associated Press.

Wenthe said the archdiocese confronted him regarding the "inappropriate relationship with her" and sent him to treatment when police questioned him in August 2010, reports the Star Tribune.

The victim had worked closely with Wenthe as she converted to Catholicism. She had also suffered from sexual abuse as a child as well as bulimia.

Their first sexual interaction took place when he invited her to his apartment following a session with a separate counselor.

Wenthe appeared before a judge on Friday. His lawyer said the relationship between Wenthe and the victim was as friends, not priest and parishioner, according to KSTP-TV.

KSTP also reports that Wenthe has been asked to step down from his position of pastor of the church until the case is over.

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