Mom Fights For Law Change After Son’s Sexual Abuse

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.

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  • Jay

    Now thats a GREAT Dad! NOT!! He lets his son go through that abuse and then lets the abuser go scott free. IF that were my son or daughter, you can be damned sure he wouldnt have gotten by with it. This WASNT a one time thing, and even then, the abuser should have had consequences from the law. Like the X, or not,our FIRST resposibility is to keep our children safe. THIS so-called “dad” failed miserably!! Sounds like the x-wife had good reason to dump his a$$!!

  • John

    This is a very happy day for us in Minnesota..I have followed this story for awhile now and as a father of 3 myself I am so happy to see that everyone at the capital can come together in this matter to protect our children. It is a sad thing that Jacob or any child has to go through anything like this but im happy to see we can come together and make change for the better.. Jacob is such an amazing boy and sarah I thank you for doing everything you have done to protect our children.

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

      Much love to you, John!

  • Thankful Mother

    That is so not right!!! ! Thank you for pursuing something that can help so many others. I know that it is difficult to relive even in the smallest way such a tragic event but through you pain can be so much happiness that it was not all in vein. I am a mother of two children and one is from a previous relationship and I could not imagine anything happening to her and never knowing about and the truth is that is one of my biggest fears since we are not exactly on the best of talking terms. I applaud you for your efforts in Minnesota and since my daughters father lives in another state I applaud your strength to continue taking this to the federal level!!!

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

      :) Thank you for your kind words.

  • red

    I was a victim of abuse when i was a teenager but I cannot imagine one parent not telling the other AND not pressing charges!!??? WHAT? I don’t care if they they don’t have they best of relationships anymore, they have a child together. Thank you so much! I applaud you!!!!

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

      I hope you were able to get some help for your experience. Thank you for your support!

  • Tim

    This is a great bill. Many non-custodial parents have been pushing for this bill for years because this activity was happening to children in the custodial parents or states hands and the non-custodial parent was not notified.. The current law was intentional to exclude the non-custodial parent so that there would not be an attempt to change custody and thus make the court look bad for making a bad decision about the best interest of the child.
    Now that the law has worked against a custodial parent the legislators are on board. I really appreciate your efforts. It may have been smooth sailing for you to get the bill passed, but it has not for the many organizations pushing many family law reforms that would include this. Rep. Vogel has done a great job and should be congratulated. He had to overcome some very nasty people in his own party.

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

      A reporter asked us at the end how often this had happened to other families. Vogel was not aware of any but I answered that it does happen, but to the other parent, the non-custodial. I have received emails from non-custodial parents with stories like ours. There was a provision in the new statute that protects the parents so that custody does not become an issue for the abuse and in that, the custodial parent now has NO reason not to disclose to the other parent. Thank you for you kind words, Tim!

  • BOB

    Daffy Dayton has trouble signing Bills with any importance.
    Like the stand your ground and the laying off teachers for
    poor performances. Who voted this piece of work into
    office anyhow.

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg


  • Elmer

    Great another law on the books for a problem that don’t exist. it will look good on some law makers resume though and this lady get to feel good about herself.
    Because her and her ex decided to act like children there should be a law. Too bad she didn’t put this much effort into her sons life in 2005.

    • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

      wow..obviously you have no idea what you are talking about and for that, I forgive you. I would gladly meet for with you so you can know the entire story.

      • Elmer

        I admit maybe I don’t the facts of this case but I do believe I know what I’m talking about. My point is this is not an epidemic that warrants a new law on the books, you dropped the ball when you and your ex DECIDED to act like children and this is the results.

        • Sarah Corder Guggisberg

          Elmer, how was it that i acted like a child? Because I had full custody and my ex decided not to tell me what happened? He went out of his way to make sure I never found out about it. He never even told our son that he knew. Jacob had no idea the abuser was taken away and placed in treatment.
          If you knew anything about sexual abuse, you would understand why Jacob did not tell anyone for years. I called the police Easter Sunday five minutes after Jacob finally told me. So do not tell me that I was acting like a child.
          still, the offer stands. We can meet and you can know the story, the un-edited version.

  • Daryl

    Great comment Elmer. Just more laws where common sense should have been applied.

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