No charges against Duluth Rep. Gauthier for rest stop sex - KMSP-TV

No charges against Duluth Rep. Gauthier after rest stop sex with teen

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DULUTH, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Office of the Saint Louis County Attorney has determined no "charges of any type are warranted" after officials investigated Minnesota Rep. Kerry Gauthier's involvement in an incident at the Thompson Hill rest stop.

On July 22, the Minnesota State Patrol submitted a report to the Duluth Police Department about two men who had met up to have sex at the rest area, but one of them was a minor.

Duluth police interviewed both Gauthier, a 56-year-old Democrat from Duluth, and the teen and found the two had met on Craigslist after the 17-year-old responded to an ad posted by a 43-year-old seeking "no strings attached" sex; however, the teen admitted he had told Gauthier he was 18 when responding to the posting.

The two agreed to meet at Thompson Hill rest area, which -- according to the State Patrol trooper investigating the case -- is a common place for homosexual men to meet. They walked back to the pavilion behind the rest area and performed oral sex on each other before Gauthier told the teen he wasn't comfortable and wanted to leave. The two had been at the pavilion for about 5 minutes.

As Gauthier was leaving, two troopers who were responding to a report of a teen urinating near the parking lot met them. Both Gauthier and the teen were interviewed, telling troopers that the sexual activity was consensual, neither had met the other before that night, and no money was exchanged.

During his interview with Duluth police investigators, Gauthier said the two had met on the Internet, and it was his first time meeting someone in that way. He also said he never planned to do it again, and that he did not know the teen was a minor.

When officers interviewed the teen, he admitted misrepresenting his age and asked investigators not to inform his parents without telling him first because he had not told them about this part of his life yet.

After reviewing the case, county attorneys said that since the minor is 17, no charges will be filed since he is legally able to consent. In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16.

It can be a misdemeanor offense to engage in sex acts in a public place, but at this time it appears that is not something prosecutors plan to pursue.

Gauthier represents Minnesota House District 7B, which covers parts of central and all of western Duluth.

On Wednesday, Duluth officials confirmed that Gauthier was taken to St. Luke's hospital for treatment of an unspecified condition after he had trouble breathing that morning.

Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner told KBJR that she was sure the headlines in the newspaper were part of the reason.

Gauthier is in the midst of defending his seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives from Republican Travis Silvers. His campaign has not yet responded to request for comment.

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