Laura Knoblach at her home in Boulder. Photo by Joe Mahoney for Minnesota Public Radio
More for the party of Gross Old Predators. As Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford tentatively agreed Saturday to testify despite "the leaks and bullying," the GOP's coercing and insulting goes on apace, from the sexual-assaulter-in-chief attacking her for not going to the FBI (WTF?) 36 years ago and charging she's being mean to "a fine man...under assault by radical left wing politicians" to North Dakota Senate candidate and yahoo Kevin Cramer calling her charges "absurd" because they were just drunken teenagers and the assault was “supposedly an attempt that never went anywhere.” In further evidence of the lofty character of the men smearing her, a press adviser leading the Senate response to her charges just stepped down amid evidence he was fired from his last job because - yes! - he had sexual harassment charges against him.
Still, his misdeeds pale before those of fellow creep Jim Knoblach, powerful Minnesota GOP state representative, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and author of multiple anti-choice bills, who abruptly ended his re-election campaign after a news story detailing his sexual abuse of his daughter for much of her life. In a harrowing, well-documented report by Minnesota Public Radio, Laura Knoblach, a now-23-year-old triathlete living in Boulder, Colo., describes years of her father's incessant grinding and touching and kissing even as she sought help from her family, church, school where her father was on the school board, and law enforcement, who concluded after a 2017 investigation that under state law her father's actions were "inappropriate, but not criminal" because he never exposed himself or touched her under her clothes. In her files on the case, there is no mention of police contacting Jim Knoblach.
Well before her charges, Knoblach was a skeevy exemplar for a party of misogynists and hypocrites on the wrong side of history. Over eight terms, he'd failed the Political Courage Test, been endorsed by the NRA, earned a 100% rating from Citizens For Life (sic) and a 0% rating from Voices For Racial Justice, and been targeted by Emily's List for "extreme anti-woman and anti-family views"; he sponsored an anti-transgender bathroom bill and over a dozen anti-choice bills, including two ultra-sound bills, an Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, a gratuitous "Born Alive Infants Protection Act” to forbid something that never happened, a bill blocking a mandate that employers provide birth control coverage, a bill calling for onerous licensing for abortion clinics, and a bill requiring a 24-hour wait period for abortion to make young distraught pregnant women suffer a bit more. He also killed a hate crime bill Democrats tried to pass after a Muslim women was brutally assaulted.
Then came this week's horror story. Providing written interview transcripts, copies of diary entries, handwritten notes and other documentation, Laura Knoblach told MPR her father began touching her when she was nine, with the abuse continuing until she left home at 21. Her testimony is graphic, detailed and deeply disturbing: She describes her father climbing into bed with her, holding her down and licking her neck; kissing her arms and neck; over 30 instances of his pinning her against the refrigerator while spooning and grinding his body against hers; lifting up her shirt while "praying" to kiss her on the stomach; pinning her against a car with open mouth kisses; sitting on a couch and kissing and licking her legs, all while using his body weight to hold her down.
She told school and church officials, who tried to help, in vain. She told friends, who corroborated her story but felt powerless to help. When she tried to tell her grandmother, the older woman said speaking up would hurt his job, and Laura was probably saying those things because she disagreed with her father's politics. Her mother, hearing the charges, denied them, said, "I don't ever want to speak to you again," and hung up. In their only family counseling, her father said he was "sorry you took it wrong if indeed I did do any of those things." He declined to be interviewed for the story; after it broke, he denied the charges, lamely offering that he had "made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused.” He plans to serve out his term.
In December 2016, Laura Knoblach moved away from her family to Boulder, where she says the friends she runs and trains with for Ironman competitions have become her new family, and her training has become "a coping mechanism...when you feel like you can't get out of bed otherwise." She struggles with depression and continues to see a therapist, but believes it's important to speak out in a time and place where 994 out of 1,000 rape and sexual abuse perpetrators go free. The hardest part, she says, is people who "try to convince me that I'm the bad guy...(that I'm) just confused." Those are likely the same upright, predator-supporting people who insist that boys will be boys, and so what if in college Brett Kavanaugh belonged to an infamous Yale club known as "tit and clit." Their motto: "No means yes. Yes means anal." Laura Knoblach is a brave young woman.