Police investigate Rep. Gauthier in rest stop incident

By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune

Duluth police are investigating state Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, in connection with an incident last month at the Thompson Hill rest area off Interstate 35 near Proctor, city and state law enforcement officials told the News Tribune.

However, those authorities did not disclose the details of that incident.

A State Patrol officer made contact with Gauthier at the rest area about 11 p.m. after a witness reported suspicious activity, according to State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske.

Gauthier, 56, represents Minnesota House District 7B, which covers parts of central and all of western Duluth. He had no opposition in Tuesday’s primary but will face Republican Travis Silvers of Duluth in the November general election.

Gauthier said he would not comment on the incident.

“I think it’s a private matter and I don’t need to talk about it,” he said.

Gauthier said no one has told him that the incident is part of an active criminal investigation.

State Patrol records on the incident have been turned over to the Duluth Police Department, Roeske said. The State Patrol won’t release any other information in the case because it is “part of an active investigation and classified as criminal investigative data” making it non-public, Roeske said.

Roeske said there were two witnesses to the incident, one of whom qualifies for identity protection under state law. The other could not be reached by the News Tribune.

The city of Duluth also confirmed that Gauthier is being investigated, releasing a statement saying: “On July 22nd, 2012, at 11:27 p.m., Duluth police responded to the Thompson Hill rest area to assist the Minnesota State Patrol with a ‘suspicious activity’ call. A result of this call is the Duluth Police Department has an active investigation ongoing at this time. No further information is available at this time.”

Gauthier was a Duluth city councilor in November 2010 when he was elected to fill the House District 7B seat vacated by Roger Reinert, who successfully ran for state Senate.

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