The St. Louis County Attorney’s office will not pursue charges against state Rep. Kerry Gauthier for an incident at a rest stop involving a 17-year-old male
Authorities responded to a report of “suspicious activity” at a rest area near Proctor the night of July 22, but have refused to discuss the investigation ever since. According to records released Thursday, authorities investigated the Duluth DFLer for allegedly having oral sex with a 17-year-old male at the rest stop.
Gauthier told police he met the 17-year-old after placing an ad on Craiglist. The boy reportedly told him he was 18.
Gauthier has refused to talk about the investigation, calling it a private matter.
The 17-year-old allegedly told police he responded to the ad and agreed to meet Gauthier at the
rest area. He told police they walked to a wooded area behind the rest stop and were back there for “five minutes,” when they engaged in oral sex, the paper reported.
Both parties told police their relationship was consensual and no money was exchanged.
While authorities were deciding whether to file charges, the Republican Party of Minnesota demanded Gauthier explain the investigation.
Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge on Thursday called the incident “deeply disturbing.”
"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,” Shortridge said.
Gauthier, a first-term legislator who sits on a House public safety committee, could not immediately be reached for comment. He is up for re-election in November.
On Thursday, Gauthier missed a joint House-Senate meeting to discuss flood relief in northeastern Minnesota, including Duluth.
"Gauthier’s absence … raises serious doubts about his ability to continue holding public office,” Shortridge said.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Gauthier has checked into a Duluth hospital and could not attend the meeting.
"We learned today both that no charges have been filed against Rep. Kerry Gauthier and that he is currently in the hospital recovering from an unknown health issue," said Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis."As such, my immediate concern is for Rep. Gauthier's health, and for a full and speedy recovery. I have not spoken with Rep. Gauthier. I expect he will further address the events of last month once he is fully recovered."