A state representative from Minnesota is under investigation by police after being involved in “suspicious activity” at an interstate rest stop, reports the Duluth News Tribune.
State Rep. Kerry Gauthier (D-Duluth) was picked up at around 11:30 pm on July 22 at the Thompson Hill rest area off Interstate 35, located near Proctor, MN.
Gauthier, 56, is described by Minnesota LGBT magazine Lavender as being openly gay. Having been first elected in 2010, he ran unopposed in the recent state primary, though he faces Republican Travis Silvers in November.
Information about the incident isn’t being shared with the public, says a Duluth PD spokesperson, because it is “part of an active investigation and classified as criminal investigative data.” But according to the Tribune, the police have done their best to blockade legitimate media inquiries:
Minnesota State Patrol and Duluth Police Department officials initially denied a request by the News Tribune for public information pertaining to an incident allegedly involving state Rep. Kerry Gauthier last week, saying the data wasn’t public.
Minnesota law requires certain information on calls for service to police to be made public—regardless of whether the call results in a criminal investigation—including the date and time of the call, agencies involved, the nature of the request of the activity being complained of, and witnesses to the incident, according to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act…
After the News Tribune informed the agencies of what records should be public under state law, the information was released, though only details on the time, date and place of the call, and that it was a response to a report of “suspicious activity.”
However, according to the Data Practices Act, the agencies should also release “a brief factual reconstruction of events associated with” a police response call.
Northlands NewsCenter cites “well-placed sources” as revealing the rest-stop encounter “involved a 17-year-old boy with whom Gauthier was reportedly engaged in a sexual act.” (The age of consent in Minnesota is 16.)
Our sources say Representative Gauthier met the young man on Craig’s List and that police are investigating the potential that money changed hands, which could make it a criminal matter.
If that’s true, it puts Gauthier’s role as a former board member of the Spirit Valley Youth Center into question. For his part, the North Star State politico told reporters, “I think it’s a private matter and I don’t need to talk about it.”
While he’s still a freshman in the statehouse, Gauthier has work on several pieces of LGBT legislation: He co-authored one bill banning state medical-assistance funding for reparative therapy, and another providing gender-neutral language in marriage laws.
Last year during a debate over a proposed gay-marriage ban, Gauthier asked his colleagues to “search your conscience and do what is right” and “to acknowledge the holiness of [a same-sex] relationship.”