DULUTH-A Duluth politician will not be charged with a crime after allegedly engaging in sexual activities with a minor at a rest stop.
Authorities report that about one month ago they caught House Seat 7B holder, Rep. Kerry Gauthier (DFL-Duluth) trying to leave the Thompson Hill rest area after a sexual meet-up scheduled through Craigslist.
St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin communicated with police through a letter (dated August 16) that charges will not be filed because the age of consent in Minnesota is 16-years-old and Gauthier's hook-up was 17.
In addition, police reports show both the 17-year-old and the DFL-endorsed candidate said the acts were consensual.
On Thursday Representative Gauthier, who is up for re–election this November, was absent from a legislative hearing about flood relief for Northeastern Minnesota.
Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) said Gauthier was hospitalized on Tuesday for "an unknown health issue" and he expects the legislator to address the incident when he recovers.
"I'm not going to comment on any of that today," DFL Chairperson Ken Martin said.
"I don't know enough information for me to jump to any sort of conclusion at this point. It is an ongoing investigation and when the details come out we will have a response," Martin said.
The investigation, however, is complete. Duluth Police and the Minnesota State Patrol declassified their reports on Thursday as part of the closing the matter.
According to a narrative filed by a Minnesota state trooper, on Sunday, July 22 around 10:50 p.m. a woman told authorities she was eating in her car at the Thompson Hill Rest Area when a young man pulled down his pants and urinated next to her vehicle.
During a search outside of the building the trooper found Gauthier who reportedly seemed startled by the appearance of authorities, according to released reports.
The narrative notes that after troopers used a flashlight to get a look at Gauthier they noticed his fly was down and part of his shirt was hanging out.
Gauthier responded to questions about his clothing by saying he didn't know why it was like that, according to the narrative.
Troopers wrote they allowed Gauthier to leave and continued their search.
Authorities then made contact with the 17-year-old who admitted to urinating in the parking lot and being the wooded area with Gauthier, according to the narrative.
The 17-year-old told authorities that he and Gauthier had been "feeling each other" and that they had met over Craigslist. He expressed concerned that he would be "outted" and that it was Gauthier's idea to meet at the rest stop, according to the narrative.
After the investigation had been turned over to police both the 17-year-old and Gauthier admitted to performing oral sex on one another. According to reports, no money exchanged hands.
Gauthier is currently campaigning to continue representing Minnesota House District 7B. His will take on Republican opponent Travis Silvers this November.
The candidate could not be reached for comment.