August 23, 2012

What's so bad about soliciting "no strings attached" sex, through Craigslist, with a person over the age of consent?

Will you shed a tear for Kerry Gauthier, the Minnesota legislator who will not run for reelection because it's "too much... just too much"?

What's so terrible that his political career must end?

1. That the partner was only 17. Minnesota has 16 as the age of consent, so it's not technically criminal, but a decent person as old as Gauthier — who's 56 — should know it's morally wrong to have sex with someone that young.

2. That he doesn't have a stable love relationship in his life and, instead of looking for a serious relationship or figuring out how to live solo, he goes looking for commitment-free sex.

3. That the sex occurred at a public rest stop. Even if the partner were a woman his own age and even if they had a solid relationship, he needs to find a private place for his sexual activities.

99 comments:

Roger J. said...

As palladian noted in an early thread--at least have the decency to get a motel room and not fellate a young man in a public toilet. That is just tacky.

Rusty said...

Never do anything like that with anyone that has less to lose than you do.
Which is why Monica will stalk Bill throughout history.
Besides the creepy part.

Matthew Sablan said...

Gauthier proves the live boy, dead girl standard of political fiascoes still holds true.

Pogo said...

"A disgraced Minnesota lawmaker...

I admit being surprised that a Democrat can be 'disgraced' by any activity.

Perhaps, no matter how libertine society professes to have become, people retain a revulsion for certain acts, as you have well laid out.

Matthew Sablan said...

The answer: It is the sort of thing that would keep you from getting a security clearance. This behavior might be perfectly fine for an every day Joe, but our elected officials are expected to, well, not act in ways that open them up to blackmail.

Also, the whole 17-year-old part is a bit icky. At least though we're getting a better idea of things that can get you to have to leave Congress and what things let you stick around.

C R Krieger said...

It isn't like he is a Republican.

Regards  —  Cliff

Pogo said...

Clearly the answer is to eliminate shame.

Or lower the legal age.

Colonel Angus said...

Having sex in a public restroom isn't just tacky, its disgusting.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

Is it really necessary to point out that there is behavior that might be perfectly legal that is nonetheless widely regarded as disqualifying for public office? It seems that everyone naturally knows this about candidates not in their party, but forget when that person is a member of their own.

Anyone screaming that "It was perfectly legal!" has already lost the argument. We're not talking about legality, but propriety.

wyo sis said...

It's the implication, whether warrented or not, that this person is weak and unprincipled. As much as we don't trust politicians we still prefer them to be trustworthy. When they so obviously can't even control themselves, they aren't seen as people who can handle the responsibilities that come with public office.

Jay said...

That the sex occurred at a public rest stop

Why not just get a hotel?

Pogo said...

"Why not just get a hotel?"

The thrill of being caught is part of the game.

Matthew Sablan said...

As a note: Gauthier mentions he's working on re-starting his sobriety campaign, so a little bit of extra compassion I think is called on in this case. I'm guessing there's more going on than just rest stop rendezvous.

ricpic said...

He's embarrassed? Means he still doesn't know what a shit he is. I see some of the enlightened commenters here have called what he did "tacky." Not wrong, tacky. They too have no shame. After all, shame is such a drag, man.

Lindsey Meadows said...

hmmmmm I always thought the Craigslist NSA ads were fake. Am I naive or what....and Duluth of all places.

Darleen said...

We're not talking about legality, but propriety.

That's the bottom line. It's unfortunate we even have to debate it as it underlines how much things like "propriety" are no longer readily accepted as legit in modern society.

Pogo said...

There are always strings attached.

Shanna said...

What is this whole thing about public bathroom sex? It seems to be rather popular in certain crowds. I think there was something a while back rating bathrooms as hookup places.

Matthew Sablan said...

Bathrooms are just gross. Especially public ones. Just. Gross.

Pogo said...

See above.

Because it's 'naughty', dirty, and elicits shame, thereby enhancing the event.

Palladian said...

The only problem with what he did was point three, sex in a public space, because that infringes upon the right of other people to be able to relieve themselves without being confronted by other people fucking.

The rest is just a bunch of busybody nonsense.

And as for shame, you silly bitches can keep it. Shame controls those too weak-minded to make their own principled moral decisions.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

The problem is the hypocrisy. Unless Gauthier campaigned on being a minor-fucker he is a hypocrite.

One wonders if Gauthier is against 17 year olds drinking alcohol but okay with 17 year olds drinking (his) semen?

Does Gauthier feel 17 year olds shouldn't smoke tobacco but should smoke penis?

Palladian said...

See above.

Because it's 'naughty', dirty, and elicits shame, thereby enhancing the event.


So that's what's so attractive about the Roman Catholic church... It makes normal human behaviors and desires that much more exciting!

Palladian said...

But Hugh Hefner is totally cool with everyone around here! Because an old straight man screwing some 17 year old bimbo is... Well, it's not icky like fag cooties!

Pogo said...

I suppose, Palladian, but the absence of shame does have it's problems.

Sociopaths, for example. They have no shame at all.

The Drill SGT said...

Folks, Folks, nothing to see here.

It wasn't gay sex in the Men's room.

It was the tripping through the woods with a fellow nature lover.

As I understood it, the 2 of them went out in the woods and the trooper spotted the politican coming back with his fly open, disheveled, etc. Started asking questions and the story fell apart...

votermom said...

Because trolling for anonymous teen sex is the action of a sexual predator.
The kid claimed he lied about his age - said he was 18.
This proves Gauthier didn't ask for id.
He would have (probably has already) done the same to a 15yo.

Matthew Sablan said...

Hefner is also icky. I just assumed everyone knew he was icky and didn't need to be called out as particularly icky in this case, since I am really focused on the whole public bathroom part.

Matthew Sablan said...

"He would have (probably has already) done the same to a 15yo."

-- That's a bridge too far and unfair for what we know of what happened.

Roger J. said...

Damn--is hugh hefner still alive and still wearing pajamas?

Apologies for using your name in my initial post which seemed to have upset another commenter. But in terms of the law, except for the location, the participants were within the law. And totally agree with your comment about shame. I feel shame when I have violated my own convictions--It is not a reaction to what other people do, and I take no responsibility for the actions of others.

BTW--unrelated--looks like the verification thing is now requiring us to enter the number.

gk1 said...

I think the republicans should steal from the democrats playbook and have a their entire convention set around this "issue". Makes as much sense as what they are doing with Akins.

bagoh20 said...

I wonder how many people would go for it if they were absolutely sure they would not get caught.

I also think the 17 year old is the one who should be more ashamed. You're 17, and you settle for that? Dude?

And who is that horny at 56?

Palladian said...

"He would have (probably has already) done the same to a 15yo."

-- That's a bridge too far and unfair for what we know of what happened.


Since when has casting unfair blood libel ever stopped people on a "Righteous Moral Crusade"?

Synova said...

Live boy or dead girl?

How about live girl of legal age, at a rest stop, and the congressman is 56. A 56 year old should know better and should be responsible for the dignity of the 17 year old. And if he's (or she's) not, then that's a judgement issue that certainly disqualifies someone for office.

It's disgusting.

And if it was some 56 year old who married a 17 year old girl it would be seen as outrageous and if he or she was some sort of "celebrity" it would be in the news *forever*.

It seems like we're supposed to see this as *homosexual* behavior and therefore another acceptable choice. Do gays want that?

Roger J. said...

Bagho20: ~~> raises hand :)

although I do confess to preferring ladies over 50.

Kit said...

MS, I agree.

What's so terrible that his political career must end?

From your list, more numbers 1 & 3. From the interview, though, he seems to get that he's dropped below acceptable standards, both public and private. Good for him for seeing that - and being willing to take the time and focus on whatever it is that needs his attention.

EMD said...

But Hugh Hefner is totally cool with everyone around here! Because an old straight man screwing some 17 year old bimbo is... Well, it's not icky like fag cooties!

You're a better and smarter commenter than this.

You're assuming ... which makes an ass of out you and some Chinese dude.

Synova said...

"But Hugh Hefner is totally cool with everyone around here! Because an old straight man screwing some 17 year old bimbo is... Well, it's not icky like fag cooties!"

Seriously?

Who doesn't think that Hugh Hefner is a moral degenerate? On what planet is this "totally cool"?

Lindsey Meadows said...

I admit to having had bar/restaurant bathroom sex with my then fiance and although I shudder to think about it to this day, it was both daring and spectacular.

I die with embarrassment thinking about it now and my husband thinks it/I was pretty cool for doing it even though it wasn't with him.

My takeaway is that it takes all kinds and is often greatly dependent on your level or moral tolerance or alcohol intake. I sure don't approve of the legislature's choices but we just don't know where it or that was coming from.

No matter though, I think the age difference is disgusting regardless.

The Drill SGT said...

Palladian said...
But Hugh Hefner is totally cool with everyone around here!


Hugh used to be cool, but he's clearly way beyond icky at this point

When he asked me out, Barbi recalls, "I was 18 and he was 42. I said I'd never gone out with anyone older than 24, and he said, 'That's all right. Neither have I.' We hit it off right away, and it lasted for eight years!"

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J. said...
BTW--unrelated--looks like the verification thing is now requiring us to enter the number.


A number, not THE number. Since what they are doing is cleaning up their "street view" databse, which I consider intrusive, I never give them the correct number

Palladian said...

Why reflexively cast the younger man as the victim? That his age is over what was decided to be the age of consent in Minnesota means that he has reached the age where the society believes he has the agency and capacity to make his own decisions regarding sex. Why therefore is it assumed that he was somehow being manipulated or taken advantage of? Some people actually like older partners (I've met several, and at age 37 myself I sadly didn't qualify). Why the maternalistic nonsense of the "poor, manipulated child"?

Roger J. said...

The age difference item is interesting--The sex act isnt tied to age difference doesnt matter--the issue is that after the sex act, what do two people have in common? When you wake up in the morning can you say anything other than "was it good for you?" At some point in a relationship you have to be able to carry on a conversation that lasts more than five minutes. The larger the age difference, the less likely that is going to happen.

EMD said...

Trolling for teen sex partners on Craigslist is just a spectacular example of poor judgment.

I was reluctant to see Anthony Weiner ousted — my only concern was whether or not he used public property (computer, office) and time to conduct his online affairs.

bagoh20 said...

There is the 51 year old actor Doug Hutchison who married a 16 year old last year.

Palladian said...

No matter though, I think the age difference is disgusting regardless.

But as we have learned, you're perfectly ok with abortion!

Roger J. said...

Drill--thanks for the insight--BTW, how is the Colonel enjoying her retirement--have you driven her nuts yet? :)

LoafingOaf said...

I agree that it's usually immoral for a 56 year old to be having sex with "barely legal" teenagers, though this 17 year old appears to have been looking for these encounters on his own and doesn't sound like a victim.

I also agree that people should not be engaging in publicly indecent sex acts.

But why is it terrible that he was having commitment-free sex? That's his own business and it doesn't bother me.

Also, how come he wasn't charged with public indecency? Did witnesses call the police because they saw the sex, or were the police creeping around looking to ambush people who thought no one could see them? I thought this happened behind the rest stop, not inside it?

Anyway, it's activities that would make me question the judgment of a politician, but they're not unforgivable things. We're all human. Since I live in a county (Cuyahoga County, Ohio) where our public officials and even judges have been going to federal prison one after another the past few years, this seems like a pretty small fry scandal. I feel sorry for him.

Shanna said...

This proves Gauthier didn't ask for id.

Because that's a totally normal thing to do when you are about to have sex! Not that 57 yo's should be hooking up with teenagers, but 17 is pretty much the same thing as 18, looks wise.

Shanna said...

Damn--is hugh hefner still alive and still wearing pajamas?

And on TV!! Everytime I think of him I hear Joel McHale in my head saying 'I'm a boat captain'. Hee.

He's passed gross and into senile old man who is pretending to have sex with young ladies, when they are really just wiping his ass.

Chip S. said...

Sorry to interrupt, but could someone direct me to the thread explaining the impropriety of skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee? I seem to have missed it.

Thanks in advance.

votermom said...

Why is it a bridge too far? The police report shows that he didn't verify the age of his young partner who claimed to be 18.

A regular person who serves alcohol to a minor, even in their own home, can be charged. Ignorance is not accepted as a defense.

Gauthier escaped being charged by a few months. He is different from Sandusky by just a few years.

For the record per MN law, if Sandusky had not been a stranger, he would have violated the law. (there is a 16-18 year old window there designed to protect from predatory older people amongthe family/friends)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Palladian,

Why reflexively cast the younger man as the victim? That his age is over what was decided to be the age of consent in Minnesota means that he has reached the age where the society believes he has the agency and capacity to make his own decisions regarding sex. Why therefore is it assumed that he was somehow being manipulated or taken advantage of? Some people actually like older partners (I've met several, and at age 37 myself I sadly didn't qualify). Why the maternalistic nonsense of the "poor, manipulated child"?

Well, there is who was giving a BJ and who was getting one, yes?

And ... just what is it with the public restroom thing?

LoafingOaf said...

Palladian: "Why reflexively cast the younger man as the victim?"

He doesn't sound like a victim at all. He probably sent a pic of his cock in his reply to the ad. It wasn't like the older guy was "grooming" some kid to engage in stuff he didn't want to.

I'm surprised that the dude confessed to everything to the cops. Apparently all they had on him was that his zipper was down and he had been behind the rest stop. A report I just read said the police originally came to the rest stop because a woman was complaining that someone had peed on her car, and then they thought this guy was doing something suspicious.

votermom said...

This proves Gauthier didn't ask for id.

Because that's a totally normal thing to do when you are about to have sex! Not that 57 yo's should be hooking up with teenagers, but 17 is pretty much the same thing as 18, looks wise.


There's nothing normal about having sex with total strangers.

And 17 is pretty much the same as 16, and as 15, and as 19. That's why people get carded when buying tobacco & alcohol.

traditionalguy said...

This favored age difference for relations between old gay men and chickens has come to the attention of the Boy Scouts of America. Free love has consequences, and a merit badge ain't one of them.

But at least the abortion issue will not be the boy's problem for many generations not to come.

Matthew Sablan said...

It's a bridge too far because we have no proof Gauthier has done this before, or that he specifically targeted the 17-year-old, or the 17-year-old just happened to be the one who answered the ad.

By the way: If you ever need to discretely check ID for a date, at dinner, order wine for both and present your own; the server will almost always ask for the other person's ID too. Unless you know the other person doesn't drink, which you probably don't if you also don't know how old they are. Here's another thought: If you think you might need to check his/her ID, maybe you should rethink your plan for the evening.

Shanna said...

Sex isn't like buying liquor. If you are already having sex with strangers maybe checking for an ID isn't a bad idea, but in the course of normal human interaction it would be very bizarre.

(I have been giving the wrong numbers too, I think what google is doing is creepy)

Chip S. said...

just what is it with the public restroom thing?

Apparently even a Democrat considers it excessive spending to rent a room that's only gonna be used for a few minutes.

LoafingOaf said...

He is different from Sandusky by just a few years.

That's ridiculous! "Just a few years"? Sandusky was a pedophile who was raping prepubescent boys. It's not comparable at all to someone having consensual sex with someone over the legal age.

votermom said...

My bad, it's all good then.
Kerry Gauthier is the defenseless victim of a wily, horny 17yo.
Let me donate to his campaign.

Lindsey Meadows said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
"And ... just what is it with the public restroom thing?"

I admit that part of it was thinking someone would walk in on us and part of it was going back to the bar with him with everyone knowing or guessing what just went on.

I can't see it whatsoever in a rest area along an interstate but most of us have done it in a car parked some place or another.

So we boil down to the outrageous part being the age difference (perhaps) and it was male/male and therefore more taboo than m/f.

Would the police have acted the same way if it were two females?

paul a'barge said...

I vote for door number 3.

paul a'barge said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
"And ... just what is it with the public restroom thing?"

don't be a noob, dear.

There is a long and storied history of gays and public rest areas.

Google is your friend.

garage mahal said...

Just what is it with the public restroom thing?

Yep. I never knew it was a "thing". Sheltered life I guess. Fucking YUCK.

Chip S. said...

paul, Michelle lives in sfo. I think she's familiar w/the data. Just looking for a theory to explain them.

Pogo said...

"Would the police have acted the same way if it were two females?"

Well, the pissing-on-the-car complaint that started their search would have aroused more suspicion, yes.

And a clearer identification

Lindsey Meadows said...

Pogo...

Ewwwe. Missed that part.

So they didn't use a tree like most guys do?

EMD said...

Would the police have acted the same way if it were two females?

Why yes, yes they would.

prairie wind said...

it's morally wrong to have sex with someone that young

Really? Lots of immorality to go around, but a flatout statement that sex with a 17 year old is immoral, is just careless speaking. Or stupid.

He would have (probably has already) done the same to a 15yo.

votermom would have (probably has already) done her son's fifth grade classmates.

Robt C said...

I had to comment just so this post wouldn't say "69 comments."

ricpic said...

...I think the age difference is disgusting regardless.

Lindsey Meadows draws a line!

Lindsey Meadows said...

paul a'barge said...
"There is a long and storied history of gays and public rest areas"

Good point. So if m/f couples started using public rest areas and gays went out and parked in the woods, things could clear up immediately.

T J Sawyer said...

This proves Gauthier didn't ask for id.

Well, of course not. He's a DFL'er and they are constantly reminding us here in Minnesita that asking for ID discriminates against people of color, the poor, and veterans!

Colonel Angus said...

So we boil down to the outrageous part being the age difference (perhaps) and it was male/male and therefore more taboo than m/f.

I think clear headed thinking folks would view a 57 year old guy fucking a 17 year old girl in precisely the same manner.

Then there is the trolling Craigslist for a hookup that just screams loser.

Lindsey Meadows said...

ricpic said...
"Lindsey Meadows draws a line!"

In all seriousness Ric my reference to the age differnce was wrong. Age has zip to do with it unless it was coerced or in someway manipulated. I know I didn't make good choices at 17 so that probably was the root of my disgust.

I consider myself a moral person Ric so there are lines here and there.

Lindsey Meadows said...

EMD said...
Would the police have acted the same way if it were two females? Why yes, yes they would."

Moral of the story is if you are gonna do it in a restroom make sure there are numerous stalls before you lock in.

votermom said...

votermom would have (probably has already) done her son's fifth grade classmates.

If I were trolling craigslist for teen sex partners you might be justified in saying that.

As it is, all this defense of the perv Gauther says to me is that you all are turned on by it. Sick. Entitled. Male. Pigs.

Rabel said...

If he had taken a picture of the encounter and kept it on his cell phone, he would be facing hard time and a lifetime sexual predator label for possession of child pornography.

prairie wind said...

votermom, I am not defending the guy. I have no idea what really happened.

You, however, are accusing the guy of stuff that the media hasn't even hinted at. That's wrong.

prairie wind said...

'nother thing, votermom:

If I were trolling craigslist for teen sex partners you might be justified in saying that.

My point is that No, I wouldn't be justified in saying that you've molested fifth graders just because you were trolling craigslist for teen sex partners. Just as you are not justified in what you suggested about this guy.

Letting your imagination run away with you is not justification for accusing someone without proof.

prairie wind said...

and...what Rabel said.

Lindsey Meadows said...

Rabel said...
If he had taken a picture of the encounter and kept it on his cell phone, he would be facing hard time...."

hehe

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

paul a'barge, garage mahal, Chip S.,

To the first two of you, yes, I know all about the history of gay men and public restrooms. There was undoubtedly a time in which it was rather difficult to get some gay nookie except in places like public restrooms (or bathhouses -- you know, like the ones activists insisted should remain open even in the worst of the AIDS epidemic, because, you know, civil rights, like the right to glory holes).

Chip S., actually, I'm not in SF and never did live there. I did live in the Bay Area for 25 years -- Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, San Rafael, Novato in that order -- but I've been in Oregon for two years now. To all Californians, I'd recommend it. Get out while you still can. Merely being able to tot up the cost of your groceries while in line, without figuring sales tax (we haven't got one) will make it worth your while.

Nathan Alexander said...

Thousands of years of human history have made it clear (to anyone who takes an open, honest look) that "no strings attached" sex is inherently exploitative. Seeking out and/or advocating for more sexual freedom is the mark of selfishness, immaturity, and an inability to delay gratification or sacrifice short-term urges for long-term good.

So someone who engages in this sort of behavior is not someone you want to give even minor political power or social position to.

rick rogers said...

I have a question for Professor Althouse and anyone else who has insight to add. Is it always morally wrong for a man in his 20's, 30's, 40's to have sex with a young women of 17-21, if it is legal? Why? I have never fully understood why this is so bad. I understand why sex with women younger than 17 or so is so bad. But I don't fully understand why women in their late teens are off limits. For the record, I am a man in my mid twenties, and I have noticed that women from 17-21 are very attracted to me, and me to them. I have not pursued any kind of relationship with any of these young women, because of the stigma attached. But I don't understand why this is so bad. Can someone explain? Thank you.

Gabriel Hanna said...

It's perfectly legal to say that a woman's uterus has +10 against rape, but it's still disqualifying for office. I'm not sure it's legal to have sex with someone you just met--or even someone you've been married to for decades--in a public bathroom, but even if it is, it's disqualifying for office.

Lindsey Meadows said...

Not a scientific study of course, but I have several GFs who succumbed to bathroom sex with their male friends. We thought it was something of a right of passage at the time.

We (or at least I) cooly chose the men's room because I thought if we were caught the men would be less likely to object to the scene.

If it were the other way around, a man in a women's restroom would also probably get in a lot of trouble just for being in there.

Gabriel Hanna said...

As for 17 = pedophilia, that's just ignorant. My grandparent's generation routinely married in their teens. Teenagers are not children, though they are not fully adults either. Teenagers have ruled kingdoms, led armies into battle, committed heinous crimes, created great art. Only a person for whom history extends only twenty years from the present could possibly say teenagers are children.

n.n said...

Instant gratification before better judgment. A number of individuals have the wrong priorities and they are willing to share their corruption with the next generation.

Marshal said...

Colonel Angus said...
So we boil down to the outrageous part being the age difference (perhaps) and it was male/male and therefore more taboo than m/f.

I think clear headed thinking folks would view a 57 year old guy fucking a 17 year old girl in precisely the same manner.

Then there is the trolling Craigslist for a hookup that just screams loser


This area of Craigslist is notorious for solicitation of prostitution. I wonder if this effected the cops suspicions and behavior.

Col Mustard said...

What the hell's wrong with being old. Many of us have problems enough without being regarded as 'disgusting' for doing things younger people do?

Who here would dare to openly be disgusted by a mixed race couple or the coupling of a jew and a muslim? The law, I believe, forbids discrimination based on age, as well.

Pols and pundits tell us the new retirement age should be 70 or some other higher number. Should not the PCOD also be raised?

With regard to the age 'difference' between partners,
if it's legal it's legal. Many young women in their teens are having more sex than bunnies. Why should old, older and oldest men be barred from taking part?

Why, exactly, is age difference such a taboo?

Palladian said...

Only a person for whom history extends only twenty years from the present could possibly say teenagers are children.

Late teen-agers become "children" when someone has a political point to make.

Hell, American soldiers in their 20s become "children" when someone's trying to make some sort of emotionalist anti-war statement.

Matthew Sablan said...

When talking about people in their late teens, I try to avoid kid/child and stick to minor or the XX-year-old. I sometimes slip up, but the goal is for exactness. Which I often fail at.

Lyssa said...

The age difference and the public-bathroom parts are significant, but even if he'd been with people his own age and meeting them in a hotel or private home, he's still having anonymous sex with strangers that he meets on the internet. Are we really not allowed to call that evidence of and incredibly bad sense of judgment?

Shanna said...

For the record, I am a man in my mid twenties

I would say so long as they are out of high school nobody would care. Now, if they hear you later complaining that your 19 yo girlfriend or wife is terribly immature, expect eyerolls.

Methadras said...

Gosh, jeez, golly, oh I don't know. Hmmm, this is really a tough question on why his political career should end. Darn, I'm perplexed at what could possibly end a politician career when he engages in this kind of behavior. Wow, would could the right answer be? Sheesh, I know the answer is out there somewhere.

/sarcasm

furious_a said...

Lindsey: ...and gays went out and parked in the woods, things could clear up immediately.

Not going to happen -- no stall panels for glory holes out in the woods.

Fletch99 said...

palladian-

Late teen-agers become "children" when someone has a political point to make.

Like 26 yr old "children" being included on their parent's health insurance?

If someone else is paying your bills as a 26 yr old adult, you're obviously not mature enough to "knowingly" consent to sex.