Rep. Gauthier, 56, claims rest-stop oral sex with Craigslist boy, 17, was consensual
Gauthier won't be charged for his alleged rest-stop shenanigans, but will he resign?
Rep. Kerry Gauthier, D-Duluth, won't face charges for having oral sex with a minor at the Thompson Hill rest stop near Duluth, but at the least he's revealed himself to be a dishonest person, lying to the 17-year-old about his age and to police about what exactly happened in the woods that night.
When contacted by a police officer and asked about the allegations last month, Gauthier initially said: "I don't know what you're talking about." In a police report, the officer writes, "At this point I felt that Gauthier was not going to be honest with me." The officer then informed the first-term legislator that police had already gotten the details about the sexual encounter from the boy himself.
Gauthier, 56, was then a bit more forthcoming, telling the officer that he met the boy through an ad he posted on Craigslist. In the ad, Gauthier characterized himself as a 43-year-old looking for man-on-man sex with "no strings attached." His ad received a receptive reply from the unnamed 17-year-old, who allegedly told Gauthier he was 18. The dynamic duo agreed to meet at the Thompson Hill rest stop for sexual relations.
They met on the night of July 22 and headed for the woods for fondling and a five-minute oral sex session. Spooked about the possibility of being busted, Gauthier and his boy tryst decided to end it there, and the whole incident might never have been publicized had it not been for the boy's decision to take a leak right next a couple eating dinner in a car. The couple called police to report "suspicious activity," and when authorities arrived Gauthier was still there.
The responding officer, in a police report, writes that he drew his gun on Gauthier, who approached him with his hand in his pocket. "I told him he shouldn't walk up to us with his hand in his pockets," the officer writes.
"It was at that time I noted his zipper was open and part of his shirt was hanging out," the officer continues. "I asked him why his zipper was down and he said he didn't know. I told him to zip it up and leave. The male seemed nervous."
A short time later, the officer came across the 17-year-old. Though he initially denied that he was up to any funny business, the teen eventually spilled the beans and admitted "he had met an older man at the rest area after corresponding with him in response to a Craigslist ad." The boy explained he hadn't yet told his parents he's gay. The officer, putting two and two together, got Gauthier's cell number from the boy, and police contacted him on July 31.
The teen initially said he was 18, but the officer wasn't buying it. He wrote that he could tell the teen was younger than he said "just by looking at him."
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Though police were aware of the incident as early as the night it happened, they didn't pass their records along to the St. Louis County Attorney's office for review until after the Duluth News Tribune reported earlier this week that Gauthier was under investigation for "suspicious activity" at the rest stop. Yesterday, prosecutors announced they won't be pressing any charges, and that decision triggered a release of the public records pertaining to the incident.
Minnesota's age of consent is normally 16, but 18 if the adult is in a position of authority over the youth with whom they have sexual relations. Since the boy apparently didn't know he was having oral sex with one of our elected leaders, Rep. Gauthier wasn't in such a position. Furthermore, the boy responded to Gauthier's ad under his own free will and police don't believe any money exchanged hands.
What about prosecuting Gauthier for having sex in a public place? Since nobody saw the incident or complained about it, Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the Duluth News Tribune that such a disorderly conduct charge wouldn't stick.
Gauthier, meanwhile, is apparently having a hard time handling the news that his man-on-boy sexing has gone public. He was reportedly admitted to a Duluth hospital with breathing difficulties yesterday morning. A Duluth city councilor told the Tribune she's sure "part of [Gauthier's health problems] had to do with headlines in the newspaper."
Republicans are calling for Gauthier to resign, with MNGOP Chairman Pat Shortridge saying in a statement: "He can't even serve his constituents for fear of having to face reporters." We bet it's satisfying for Republicans to be on that side of a sex scandal for a change!
Gauthier is slated to face Republican Travis Silvers in November in hopes of winning a second term as the representative of House District 7B, which covers central and western Duluth.
If it's any consolation, Gauthier told the officer interviewing him on July 31 that he hadn't done anything like rest-stop oral sex before and vowed it wouldn't happen again.
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