Allen Quist flip-flops about his research in a Mankato "anonymous sodomy" adult bookstore

Quist said he was "ready to vomit" before leaving Mankato's "Adult Book and Cinema."
Quist said he was "ready to vomit" before leaving Mankato's "Adult Book and Cinema."

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On March 30, 1988, then-state Rep. Allen Quist talked with the Mankato Free Press about his visit to Mankato's "Adult Book and Cinema." Though the report was for many years lost in the paper-to-digital shuffle, parts of it have recently been republished on the internet as part of the Free Press' coverage of the August 14 1st District GOP gaffe-fest primary pitting Quist against state Rep. Mike Parry.

According to the Free Press' 1988 report, "Quist said he recently visited the bookstore disguised in sunglasses and grubby clothes... 'On the north end of these booths there's a section marked off for homosexuals,' Quist said. 'If you open a door, you'll find there are apertures in the partitions. They are there to facilitate anonymous sodomy.'"

Quist said he found 'direct evidence of sexual activity on the floors of the booths.'

"I was ready to vomit before I left there," he added.

In the late '80s, Quist was known as one of the legislature's leaders in the effort to control the spread of AIDS. He ending up using the undercover research at "Adult Book and Cinema" as his rationale for for adding an amendment to a Department of Health budget bill that ordered the department to "prevent any business from facilitating sexual practices that transmit deadly diseases."

But over the course of the past quarter-century, the tale of Quist entering the adult bookstore in disguise and scoping out glory holes has apparently become a source of embarrassment for the now-68 year old. He's taken to denying that the episode ever happened, saying during a July 15 radio appearance that the bookstore sting tale is "a total fabrication."

"The thing of it is I was extraordinarily effective in the legislature," Quist added. "Consequently the lefties invented all kinds of stuff that they've said about me, and it's mostly not true or totally taken out of context. And [the bookstore story] happened to be one of those."

Parry's campaign has taken shots at Quist for seemingly being less than truthful in denying that the bookstore sting ever occurred. And with the denials become even less tenable in the face of the Free Press republishing some of its original coverage, Quist has now flip-flopped again.

Last week, Quist released a statement addressing two preposterous statements he made years ago and the bookstore sting, all three of which have haunted his effort to unseat U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. Here's what his statement had to say about the bookstore sting:

Quist's afternoon of glory-hole gazing was in the public interest, he says.
Quist's afternoon of glory-hole gazing was in the public interest, he says.
[Regarding] the allegation that, twenty four years ago, as a state legislator, I entered the Mankato adult bookstore in disguise to check out whether it included a serious public health risk. Parry's distortion of my response to an important constituent complaint--that the bookstore posed a serious public health risk--is shameful. All I did was fulfill my responsibility as a Minnesota legislator.

Having first asked the Department of Health to investigate the matter (they did not) and being unwilling to allow an alleged public health risk to continue, I checked it out myself. Not in disguise, as my attackers would suggest, and not in sunglasses that suggests something to hide. (The reporter involved later went to work for the DFL caucus in St. Paul.)

I entered the adult bookstore dressed normally in shirt and blue jeans. The real story that won't be printed is that I did the right thing. There was in fact a huge public health risk involved--a problem that was immediately remedied because someone had the courage to bring the issue to the light of day.

In fact people may well be alive today because I did my job. Distorting the facts and then attacking someone for having the courage to do what is right is destructive to our nation.

In sum, over the course of 25 years, Quist has gone from talking on-the-record about spending time in the bookstore while in disguise, to denying he was there altogether, to acknowledging he was there, but denying he took any measures to obscure his identity. In other words, regardless of what the truth really is, the majority of the time Quist has either been suffering from amnesia or lying.

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