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Minnesota state legislator ends re-election campaign after daughter alleges sexual abuse
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Minnesota state Rep. Jim Knoblach (R) announced on Friday that he will no longer be seeking re-election after his now 23-year-old daughter accused him of sexually assaulting her for a period spanning more than a decade.
Laura Knoblach claims that her now-60-year-old father inappropriately kissed her, licked her, and bit her ears beginning nearly 15 years ago when she was just 9 years old.
“My dad just grabs me”
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Laura Knoblach said her father’s inappropriate conduct began when she was 9 and lasted until she was 21 years old. She particularly recalled one instance in which her father entered her bedroom after she had fallen asleep, climbed into her bed, and lied down beside her.
“He would put his arm around me and not let me get up or get away and he would lick my neck or bite my ear,” she said.
She went on to describe an instance that she says occurred in 2015, when she was 20, wherein her father allegedly held her against a car and kissed her.
“I was walking back in [and] my dad just grabs me and like throws me up against a car and he basically grabbed each of my wrists and, like, pinned my wrists above my head, and just started, like, making out,” Laura Knoblach recalled. “Slobbering open mouth kisses with tongue on my neck and biting my ear.”
Among other accusations, Ms. Knoblach also alleged that, on more than 30 occasions, her father followed her into the kitchen, where he proceeded to press up on her from behind, holding her against the dishwasher or refrigerator.
Laura Knoblach said that as she got older, she sought help from others, including family members and police. Ms. Knoblach said she contacted the St. Cloud Police Department and the Sherburne County sheriff’s office, who she said investigated the matter but failed to file charges.
“There was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jim Knoblach had committed a crime,” read one letter that the representative’s daughter received from the Sherburne County attorney’s office.
“Estranged from our family”
Rep. Knoblach’s attorney, Susan Gaertner, denied the allegations on Minnesota Public Radio on Friday, just hours before Knoblach called off his campaign. Gaertner explained that the suspension of Knoblach’s campaign was announced because the representative “does not want to drag his family through six weeks of hell.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Knoblach continues to the deny the allegations and has not resigned from his state House seat. The representative said his daughter “has been estranged from our family for some time.”
“In late 2016 she made some extremely hurtful and untrue accusations on a Facebook post, which was briefly put up and then taken down,” the representative wrote in a statement. “These accusations were fully investigated by Sherburne County, dismissed, and the case closed in April 2017.”
Rep. Knoblach, who is chairman of the state House Ways and Means Committee, went on to say that he would “never do anything to hurt” his children.
“I love my children more than anything, and would never do anything to hurt them. Her allegations are false,” Knoblach added. “I and other family members have made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused.”
Rep. Knoblach’s state seat has been a “top target” for Democrats for years, according to ABC. With little time ahead of November’s elections, Republicans in hopes of keeping Democrat opponent Dan Wolgamott out of the state House can either vie for what ABC called “some kind of court intervention” or launch a campaign for a write-in candidate.
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