|Rep. Kerry Gauthier|
DULUTH (WCCO/AP) – A Minnesota State Representative was allegedly involved in a sexual act at a public rest room near Proctor, Minn., according to recently released police documents.
The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office said they would not pursue criminal charges against 56-year-old Minnesota Rep. Kerry Gauthier (DFL) in relation to the alleged July 22 incident.
According to police documents, officers responded to a “suspicious activity” call at the Thompson Hill rest area. After investigating, they determined that Gauthier and a 17-year-old male had been involved in sexual activity — including oral sex — near the picnic tables on the south end of the rest area.
According to the documents, Gauthier admitted to meeting with the teen after putting an ad up on Craigslist, but said the teen claimed to be 18.
As the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, and as both parties claimed the encounter was consensual, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office said they would not pursue criminal charges.
During the investigation, police were looking into whether money changed hands, which would make it a criminal matter, but Gauthier and the teen both said that money was not exchanged.
Police said that Gauthier was neither arrested nor issued a citation.
Duluth resident Gauthier, who represents an area ravaged by recent flooding, was a no-show at a State Capitol hearing to discuss disaster aid on Thursday. A first-term legislator, he is up for reelection this November.
Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Gauthier was being hospitalized for “an unknown health issue” and he expects him to address the incident when he recovers.
“My immediate concern is for Rep. Gautheir’s health,” he said.
Minnesota’s Democratic Party Chairman, Ken Martin, also withheld comment.
The Republican Party of Minnesota released a statement Thursday in response to the investigation.
“Today, Gauthier’s constituents have legitimate reason to believe that what he terms a ‘private matter’ is preventing him from doing his job representing them,” said party chairperson Pat Shortridge. “Gauthier’s absence from today’s legislative hearing on providing his district relief from the floods that devastated Duluth in June, raises serious doubts about his ability to continue holding public office.”
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