Minnesota

Minnesota state lawmaker drops re-election bid amid reports of gay sex hook-up with teen

Kerry Gauthier Staff Reports

DULUTH, Minn, — The Minnesota Democrat who had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy at an Interstate rest-stop said he is dropping his bid for re-election, just hours after he said he would stay in the race.

State Rep. Kerry Gauthier (DFL-Duluth) told the Northland Newscenter that there’s too much political fall out and it’s too hard on him psychologically, and that staying in the race will be too hard on him emotionally.

Kerry Gauthier

Earler on Wednesday, the 56-year old-lawmaker said that he was planning to stay in the race and would let voters in his district decide his political future “rather than the political power base in St. Paul.” But by the end of the day, Gauthier has reconsidered and withdrew from the race.

Gauthier said he is “a better person than this incident portrayed me.”

Duluth Police say Gauthier admitted engaging in oral sex with the boy on July 22 at a local highway rest stop after the first-term lawmaker advertised on Craigslist for “no strings attached” sex.

Police declined to charge him because the boy was older than 16, the legal age of consent in Minnesota, and no money was exchanged. The teen allegedly told Gauthier at the time of the meeting that he was 18.

“I am sorry for the hurt this has caused my family, friends and my constituents. I know I made a mistake and am determined to make amends as best I can,” said Gauthier, in an earlier statement.

Gauthier said his unwillingness to accept that he is gay led him to engage in the inappropriate liaison in a public place. He said he is getting counseling.

“I can change my behavior, but I cannot change the fact that I am a gay man, and have known this since my college days. I simply must act like a mature gay man would act, and not as the incident portrays me,” he told Northland Newscenter.

Rep. Tom Huntley, a Democrat whose Duluth district adjoins Gauthier’s, told the Duluth News Tribune that he considers Gauthier a “child molester.”

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