Duluth lawmaker won’t face charges for rest stop incident

The St. Louis County Attorney’s office has reportedly decided not to charge state Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, in connection with an incident last month at a rest stop along Interstate 35.

The Duluth News Tribune reports today that police investigated Gauthier for allegedly having oral sex with a 17-year-old male who he had met through an ad on Craigslist. The newspaper also said the legislator had been admitted to a Duluth hospital Wednesday.

Gauthier, 56, was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2010 and is seeking a second term in November. He did not attend a State Capitol meeting today related to a disaster relief bill for the Duluth area and other communities hit by storms and floods in June.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Pat Shortridge sent out a news release claiming the incident is affecting Gauthier’s ability to do his job.

“Gauthier’s constituents have legitimate reason to believe that what he terms a ‘private matter’ is preventing him from doing his job representing them,” Shortridge wrote. “Gauthier’s absence from today’s legislative hearing on providing his district relief from the floods that devastated Duluth in June, raises serious doubts about his ability to continue holding public office.”

During an unrelated news conference, Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin told reporters that he was as surprised as anyone about the reports. Martin said he had not talked to Gauthier and did not have any more to say.

“I’m not going to comment on any of that today,” Martin said. “I don’t know enough information. It’s not fair for me to jump to any conclusion at this point.”

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