Zellers calls on Gauthier to resign

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 9:18 PM
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Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers has asked a DFL legislator to resign after an investigation revealed he had a sexual encounter with a teenage boy at a rest stop in Duluth last month.

The St. Louis County attorney announced Thursday he would not press charges against Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, because the teenager is 17, one year older than the age of consent.

"While no charges have been filed, the reported incident with a minor and subsequent lying to police show Rep. Gauthier to be unfit to continue serving his constituents in Duluth," Zellers said in a statement Friday. "We have given Rep. Gauthier and the Democrat Caucus a respectful amount of time to address this situation on their own."

Facing growing scrutiny in his district, Gauthier has reportedly checked himself into a Duluth hospital, citing shortness of breath. He has not spoken publicly since police issued their report on the incident.

"Rep. Gauthier remains in the hospital and until we've spoken with him, we don't believe it is appropriate to comment further," said Catherine Thompson, a spokeswoman for the House DFL.

According to authorities, Gauthier engaged in oral sex with the 17-year-old in a wooded area behind an interstate rest stop July 22.

Gauthier, 56, told police he met the boy after placing an ad on Craiglist seeking sexual relations with another male.

Both parties told police that their relationship was consensual and that no money was exchanged. The boy admitted he lied and told Gauthier he was 18.

Gauthier, serving his first term, is up for re-election in November.

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

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