Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota family has turned an incredibly painful experience into something positive.
A boy sexually abused Jacob Gould, more than once, at his dad’s house in 2005. But Jacob’s parents are divorced, so his mom, Sarah Corder-Guggisberg, never found about it.
As Corder-Guggisberg and her son made their way to the Capitol Monday morning, they were taking steps toward change.
“I didn’t know it was going to move this fast, at all,” said Jacob, who is pushing for a new law.
For the last three months, Corder-Guggisberg has lobbied to close a loophole in a law. It’s one she didn’t even know existed until her son became a victim of sexual assault.
“It’s not about us anymore,” she said. “It’s preventing others from going through this.”
With the help of Rep. Bruce Vogel (R- Willmar), Corder-Guggisberg pushed for a requirement that both parents be notified if their child is the victim of abuse. Authorities never told Corder-Guggisberg of Jacob’s sexual assault. They only alerted his father, her ex-husband, and he decided not to press charges.
“Divorce is very common,” Corder-Guggisberg said. “Children go to other parents quite often. Often times, they don’t communicate.”
Vogel said the experience of pushing for “Jacob’s Law” has been truly moving.
“It grabs you and says, ‘We do have to fix that,’” he said.
Jacob’s Law sailed through committees and the Senate. And each vote brought a healing not found in therapy.
“Right away when this happened, I increased by 100 percent,” Jacob said.
Monday morning’s House vote was the final step before reaching the Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk. It was approved unanimously and the entire family watched as Jacob’s pain finally had purpose.
“It makes me feel good that I can help other kids,” Jacob said.
Corder-Guggisberg wants other states to take up this law. She’s going to work with Vogel to make this push on a federal level.
The family has been told by the bill’s authors that the governor will sign it. The governor’s press secretary says he will consider it.