ST. PAUL, Minn. – Two Minnesota lawmakers accused of making out in a car at a regional park say a park ranger made up the story.
State Reps. Tim Kelly and Tara Mack were cited Aug. 25 for causing a nuisance, a misdemeanor. The Dakota County ranger who issued the citations wrote that the two were making out and that Mack's pants were unzipped and pulled down when he approached the car around 4:30 p.m.
Kelly and Mack told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which first reported the citations on Wednesday, that the ranger's report was untrue. Mack called the statements "egregious and false."
The two Republicans are powerful committee chairs in the state House of Representatives, where they've served since 2009. Both are married to other people and have several children.
In separate statements to the newspaper, the lawmakers said they met at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan as Kelly passed through town to exchange documents regarding a health insurance company. Kelly said the ranger initially approached the car about a parking violation and left when Kelly disputed it. Kelly said the ranger returned 10 minutes later with the nuisance citations, the substance of which Kelly emphatically denied.
"I've since learned the park ranger included false information in his notes," he said. "What he wrote is an absolute lie and I intend on filing a complaint."
Both lawmakers also alleged their citations were illegally obtained. The Associated Press accessed the citations and the officer's notes through a Minnesota public court terminal, the same way the Pioneer Press reported it did.
Sheriff Tim Leslie said he stands behind the report of the ranger, who is not a deputy but a temporary employee of the sheriff's office since May with authority to enforce county ordinances.
"The facts will come out as to what the deputy saw," Leslie said. "I have no reasons to doubt the ranger and the facts he's reporting."