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Democrat Caught Having Sex with 17-Year Old Boy at Rest Stop

Democratic leaders in Minnesota are demanding a state lawmaker withdraw from his re-election bid after police claim he admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop.
While Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, will lose support from fellow Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members if he continues with his campaign, party leaders stopped short Monday of asking him to immediately resign.
The first-term legislator wasn’t charged in the alleged July 22 encounter because the legal age of consent in Minnesota is 16 and no money was exchanged, according to the St. Louis County attorney’s office. Police say the two had oral sex behind a rest stop pavilion in Duluth after the teen responded to Gauthier’s Craigslist ad looking for a “no strings attached” sex.
Police reports made public last week say Gauthier came clean about the rest stop rendezvous.

The teen reportedly told officials that Gauthier was a stranger and he lied to the unmarried lawmaker when he said he was 18 years old.

Troopers were alerted to the alleged incident by a woman at the rest stop who was complaining about a male urinating on her car.

Trooper Scott Parker wrote in a report that he came across another man — later identified as Gauthier — behind a rest area building, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

“It was at that time I noted his zipper was open and part of his shirt was hanging out. I asked him why his zipper was down and he said he didn’t know,” Parker wrote. “I told him to zip it up and leave. The male seemed nervous.”

Gauthier took office last year representing the Duluth area in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement Monday that Gauthier’s actions are “inexcusable.”

“No one in our party condones what he did, nor will we defend him in this matter,” Martin said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, who represents the DFL in Minneapolis, said he told Gauthier not to seek re-election this fall.

“I am deeply disappointed with Rep. Kerry Gauthier’s conduct that has been reported over the last several days,” Thissen said in a statement. “The conduct was wrong and no one in the DFL House Caucus condones the behavior.”

Gauthier, who was admitted to a hospital last week for shortness of breath after the scandal broke, didn’t comment Monday.

He first told the Duluth News Tribune last Tuesday that the alleged encounter is “a private matter and I don’t need to talk about it.”

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a Republican, said Friday that Gauthier should resign before his term expires.

The scandal has hurt Democrats’ hopes of retaking at least one chamber of the state Legislature. They need to pick up at least six seats in the House, and Gauthier’s Duluth-area seat usually is reliably Democratic.

But if he drops out, any Democrat seeking to replace him would have to run as a write-in candidate, making the race much more difficult to win.

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