Minn. Politician Public Won’t Face Charges for Alleged Public Sex With Male, 17
Police from Duluth, Minn., have concluded an investigation of an alleged incident that occurred at an interstate rest stop in Duluth and involves a state representative, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
A spokesman for the authorities said state Rep. Kerry Gauthier (D-Duluth) was involved in "suspicious activity" at the rest stop. A state trooper responded to the incident and approached Gauthier around 11 p.m. on July 22, Duluth's Northland's News Center points out.
State police had turned over the case to the Duluth Police Department. Duluth ABC affiliate KSTP has reported that the Louis County attorney's office will not pursue the case.
But Northland's News Center claims that "well placed sources" told the website that the incident involved a 17-year-old boy with whom Gauthier was allegedly engaging in a sexual act. The age of legal consent in Minnesota is 16; but it can be a misdemeanor to have sex in a public place.
The sources also said that the politician met the teenager on Craigslist and police are investigating whether money was exchanged for sex, which would make the incident a criminal case.
Gauthier, 56, who represents parts of central and all of western Duluth, will face Republican challenger Travis Silvers in November.
The politician refused to comment on the investigation.
"I think it's a private matter and I don't need to talk about it," he said. He did mention, however, that he has not been informed that the incident is part of a criminal investigation.
The city of Duluth released the following statement about the investigation: "On July 22nd, 2012, at 11:27 p.m., Duluth police responded to the Thompson Hill rest area to assist the Minnesota State Patrol with a 'suspicious activity' call," the statement reads. "A result of this call is the Duluth Police Department has an active investigation ongoing at this time. No further information is available at this time."
A case that mirror's Gauthier's occurred in 2007 and involved Larry Craig, who at the time was a Republican senator from Idaho.
Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and entered a guilty plea to a lesser charger of disorderly conduct.
The police report states authorities sat in a bathroom stall as part of an undercover operation investigating complaints of sexual activity in the bathroom. After loitering outside of the restroom, Craig eventually went inside a stall and tapped his right foot.
"I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot," the police report reads. "The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area. Craig then proceeded to swipe his left hand under the stall divider several times, with the palm of his hand facing upward."
Earlier this month the Associated Press reported that Craig will defend himself in a federal lawsuit by arguing that the incident was part of official Senate business. The Federal Election Commission claims the politician misused $217,000 by spending it on his legal defense after he was accused of soliciting sex.