Minn. court upholds clergy sex-misconduct law

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld a state law that deems it a felony for clergy members to have sex with people they’re advising on spiritual matters.

The court on Wednesday reversed a state Court of Appeals ruling granting a new trial to Catholic priest Christopher Wenthe (WHEN’-thee).

In 2011, Wenthe was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a woman when she sought spiritual counseling.

In a two-part ruling, the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that Minnesota’s clergy sexual conduct statute is constitutional, and that religion was not excessively entangled in Wenthe’s conviction.

The Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/1ba4nMS ) reports Justice Alan Page dissented on both counts. Page reasoned that the state law is unconstitutional.

The case was sent back to the Court of Appeals to resolve other issues.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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