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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:01:15 EST, 23  August 2012| UPDATED:01:21 EST, 23 August 2012


  • Representative Kerry Gauthier was found  engaging in oral sex on July 22
  • Found teen on Craigslist after advertising  for ‘no strings attached’ sex
  • Withdrew bid for re-election Wednesday after  calls from both parties to resign
  • Charges were dropped because sexual  encounter was consensual
  • Gauthier said he tried to kill himself last  week over the ‘tragic embarrassment’


A disgraced Minnesota politician who had oral  sex with a 17-year-old boy in a rest-stop dropped his re-election bid on  Wednesday, admitting to what he called an ‘obvious tragic  embarrassment.’

Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, had declared he would stay in the race in a statement released at 1pm yesterday despite party leaders and Republicans wanting him out, but he U-turned just hours later.

The 56-year-old said he  had been going back and forth about running ‘every 20 minutes for a week’ before  making the decision, which he claims was  not influenced by Democratic leaders pressing him to withdraw.

‘I changed my mind,’ he said. ‘Too much. It’s  just too much.’

Gauthier also said that he overdosed on  muscle relaxants last week, leading to hospitalisation, in an effort to kill  himself.

He’d earlier issued a statement saying he has  been in recovery from chemical dependency for 30 years with one  relapse.

Gauthier’s decision to withdraw his  re-election bid came after  Democratic leaders, from Gov. Mark Dayton on down,  urged the first-term  lawmaker to step aside so the party could field another  candidate in a  reliably Democratic district.

CaughtCaught: Police revealed that a Minnesota’s  Representative Kerry Gauthier had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old  boy

Democrats need to gain at least six House  seats to take control of the chamber, a top goal in November, and the last thing  they needed was the possibility of losing what was thought to be a safe  seat.

State election officials have said Gauthier  can’t be replaced on the ballot, which would mean a write-in campaign for a  replacement that would be much more difficult to win.

But Democrats said earlier this week they  were looking at legal avenues to replace Gauthier on the ballot if he  dropped.

Gauthier’s initial decision to stay in the  race, announced in an interview with Northland’s NewsCenter in Duluth, drew  widespread condemnation from fellow Democrats.

Dayton said the move would be ‘destructive’  for Gauthier’s reputation, his district, his party and the state.

‘I think it’s just something that goes beyond  the morals of Minnesotans – to solicit on Craigslist sex with a minor and do it  in a public area, publicly owned area, as a state legislator, and come back to  the parking lot with his clothes disheveled,’ Dayton told reporters at the  Capitol.

‘It’s not about whether it’s a same-sex or a  heterosexual act. It would be the same if it were the same circumstances  involving a heterosexual individual.’

Police say Gauthier admitted having oral sex  with the boy on July 22 after the first-term lawmaker from Duluth 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, and no money was  exchanged.

Earlier, Gauthier apologized for the incident  in a statement posted online by the Duluth News Tribune. ‘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,’ he said.

Minnesota House Minority Leader Paul Thissen  said in a statement to the Duluth News  Tribune that he was ‘deeply  disappointed’ with Gauthier’s conduct before the politician withdraw his ballot.

‘The conduct was wrong and no one in the DFL  House caucus condones the  behavior,’ he said. ‘I expect he will address these  issues publicly and  soon.’

Previously, Republicans lobbied for his  resignation.

‘I believe we have given Rep. Gauthier and  the Democrat caucus a respectful amount of time to address this situation on  their own,’ House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said on Friday.

‘Rep. Gauthier’s actions are not becoming of  a member of the House of Representatives, and today I am calling on him to  resign from the Legislature.’

Mr Gauthier was treated for shortness of  breath following the public investigation of his interactions with a 17-year-old  teen he met on Craigslist.

The two met for a rendezvous on July 22 at  the Thompson Hill rest stop around 11 p.m.

The Duluth News  Tribune reported that a state trooper  happened upon the pair after a report of ‘suspicious activity.’

Police reports of the incident reveal that Mr  Gauthier put out an ad for an encounter on Craigslist and the  17-year-old  responded.

The two walked to a wooded area behind the  rest stop pavilion for five  minutes, where they engaged in oral sex and  touching, police records  show.

trooper approached Mr Gauthier on his way  back from the encounter.

‘It was at that time I noted his zipper was  open and part of his shirt was hanging out. I asked him why his zipper was down  and he said he didn’t know,’ the officer wrote in his police report. ‘I told him  to zip it up and leave. The male seemed nervous.’

Then, the trooper said, he saw the  teen.

‘He stated that he had met an older man at  the rest area after corresponding with him in a response to a Craigslist ad,’  the trooper wrote.

The teen told the police that his parents  were unaware of his sexual orientation and begged them not to tell his family of  the incident.

Both men said the interaction was consensual  and there was no money exchanged. The teen also told police that he lied about  his age, telling Mr Gauthier he was 18 years old.

‘I think it’s a private matter and I don’t  need to talk about it,’ Mr Gauthier said to the Duluth News Tribune following  the explosive investigation.

‘It was at that  time I noted his zipper  was open and part of his shirt was hanging out. I asked  him why his  zipper was down and he said he didn’t know. I told him to zip it up  and leave.’

State  Trooper

No charges were pressed against the  representative as the age of consent is 16 in Minnesota.

Gauthier told TV station his unwillingness to  accept he is gay led him to the sex act in the rest-stop.

He said he is getting counseling. He also  said he feels badly for the teen and wouldn’t talk specifically about the  incident to protect the boy.

‘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,’ the network quoted him as saying.

Gauthier said he won’t attend a Friday  special session to vote on a flood relief package after his district was one of  the hardest-hit by June flash floods.

Gauthier had pushed hard for state aid until  he dropped out of public view when the scandal hit last week.

‘I just think it would be a distraction for  the city to get what it needs from the special session,’ Gauthier  said.

Sen. Roger Reinert, a Democrat who shares a  district with Gauthier, said the withdrawal was ‘absolutely the right  decision.’

Reinert said Gauthier’s presence in the  campaign threatened to drag down Democratic attempts to win control of the  Legislature. He said the scandal reinforced negative stereotypes of gay people,  and could hurt an effort to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment on the  November ballot banning gay marriage.

Republican leaders called on Gauthier to  resign immediately from his legislative seat, but Democrats did not make that  request.

Dayton said his signed agreement for the  special session with top Republican and Democratic legislative leaders would  preclude a House vote on Gauthier’s conduct because it limits the scope of the  special session. A spokeswoman for the GOP House caucus had no immediate  comment.

Duluth firefighter Erik Simonson launched a  bid as a write-in Democratic candidate for Gauthier’s seat Tuesday. Duluth City  Councilor Jay Fosle also has filed paperwork to run as a write-in candidate.  Republican Travis Silvers already is on the ballot.

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