Allegations flying around a eight-term Minnesota state representative have caused him to abruptly cancel his re-election campaign.
Representative Jim Knoblach, a Republican, was accused by his 23-year-old daughter Laura of inappropriate behavior from ages 9 to 21 in a report last week by Minnesota Public Radio.
According to CNN, Knoblach called the allegations false and posted on his campaign re-election site that his daughter has been estranged from the family. “I love my children more than anything, and would never do anything to hurt them,” he said. “I could fight on for another six weeks to defend my reputation while running for re-election. But this would entail subjecting my wife, son, and elderly parents, as well as my daughter, to six weeks of extreme stress and scrutiny.” He was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1994.
This wasn’t the first time such allegations have come to light. There was a two-month investigation by local police back in 2017, with the investigating officer concluding that the representative’s behavior was “really inappropriate but not criminal.” The Sherburne County Attorney’s Office declined to press charges at the time.
Repub state Rep. Jim Knoblach abruptly ended his re-election campaign as MPR News prepared to publish detailed accusations from his daughter of inappropriate behavior toward her. Laura alleges that her dad inappropriately touched her for most of her life https://t.co/mRo0xC6xLV pic.twitter.com/wd6XOGPZji
— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) September 22, 2018
Laura Knoblach said that when she was growing up, her father would put his arm around her and “not let me get up or get away and he would lick my neck or bite my ear,” according to MPR News. She also alleged that he routinely “approached her from behind and pressed his body against hers in the kitchen of their home, pinning her against the refrigerator or dishwasher and using his weight and strength to keep her from getting away.” In the report, she detailed other disturbing allegations such as him pinning her against a car and kissing and licking her neck. She said she told friends, family, a teacher, and a local pastor about the alleged abuse for more than a decade, and only came out with her story after “five years of confusion, questioning, and … well therapy” in her original Facebook post. She also said her family has tried to silence her for 15 years.
Regarding her father ending his re-election campaign, Laura Knoblach said, “I strongly believe that decision to suspend the campaign was nothing more than an attempt to save face, and spare himself from the outrage that has been his to own for many years.” For more on the story, watch the video below.