A Duluth legislator who admitted to police that he had oral sex with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop has bowed to relentless pressure from DFL leaders and will not seek a second term.Infuriated colleagues are problematic, but that appeared to be the least of his problems:
"I am done," state Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, told the Star Tribune late Wednesday. "I just need to take care of myself right now, and I am not really up for that kind of fight."
Gauthier infuriated DFL colleagues earlier in the day when they learned he intended to seek re-election. They had spent days urging Gauthier to bow out of the race in a district that is a longtime DFL stronghold.
As authorities made the report public, Gauthier said he took several muscle relaxants and was taken to a local hospital after being found unconscious.
Gauthier said he has been recovering from chemical addiction for 30 years. He said he relapsed about a year ago and briefly started drinking again. Gauthier said he'd remained sober until last week, when he overdosed on pain pills prescribed for back pain.
"I reverted back to the bad habits of last year," he said.
Any similarity to the political career of other high-ranking Minnesota officials is strictly coincidental and must not be mentioned, of course. And there's this little tidbit:
Before joining the Legislature, Gauthier was a licensed social worker and alcohol and drug counselor. A background check turned up no previous criminal record.On the bright side, he still has no criminal record.
One other point -- on the local news, I heard it mentioned that there are concerns about Gauthier coming back to St. Paul tomorrow for the planned special session on flood relief for the Duluth area. Given the timing, he's going to have to come back, because a resignation would not allow the seat to be filled in time.