Minnesota Republican Lawmaker Quits Campaign After Accusations of Molestation

The South Lawn of the White House on September 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Jim Knoblach, a Minnesota state representative, announced on Friday that he would be ending his campaign for reelection after his daughter alleged he had molested her for more than 10 years, from the age of nine, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.

"I love my children more than anything, and would never do anything to hurt them," he said in his statement. "Her allegations are false."

His statement continued, "I and other family members have made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused."

Knoblach said he is ending his campaign in an effort to avoid media attention. After his term ends he intends to focus on "healing" his family.

His daughter Laura Knoblach, who is now 23, alleged that the molestation began when she was 9 and continued for a decade. The lawmaker's statement came just before Minnesota Public Radio News was scheduled to release lengthy reports about the allegations as well as interviews with Laura.

Laura alleges that Knoblach molested her repeatedly throughout her childhood. "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 in her interview.

Knoblach's lawyer, Susan Gaertner, told The Washington Post "[Knoblach] acknowledges that he is a physically affectionate father" to his children but that Laura has exaggerated these affections.

"You have the reality of an environment where allegations of misconduct are more difficult to combat in the public's eye," Gaertner said.

Laura Knoblach had previously made these accusations against her father when she first moved away from home. In 2016, she made a Facebook post detailing her childhood sexual abuse and how her family had "coerced me into silence for almost 15 years."

The post has since been deleted but was obtained by MPR News, according to The Post. There was a police investigation in 2016 after her post but due to insufficient evidence no charges were filed.

Laura Knoblach is a record-setting triathlete and lives in Boulder, Co.