Gov. Mark Dayton today signed Jacob’s Law, named after Jacob Gould and written to keep other youths from experiencing the same things he has.
The new law requires law enforcement officials to notify both parents if a child is a victim of neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse outside of the home. Also, local welfare officials must be notified.
“If I can help just one kid, it would be 100 percent worth it,” the 12-year-old said of work that led to Dayton signing the bill.
His mother, Sarah Guggisberg, said that given the fact that her son tried to commit suicide several times, she is thankful for counseling her son and her family received after the boy revealed he was sexually abused four years earlier.
“We could have lost Jacob over this,” she said.
Guggisberg said the boy was abused in 2005, but he said nothing about it for four years. Law enforcement told his father, divorced from Guggisberg, but not her.
She said the family would have sought help much earlier if she had known about the incident.
A Facebook page she created had 17,000 members within two weeks of launching, she said, many of whom experienced similar problems.
Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, said met with Guggisberg a half hour after she contacted him last Oct. 4 and spearheaded the effort to get the bill through the Legislature.
“We didn’t know the loophole was there,” Vogel said about existing law only requiring one parent be notified.
Guggisberg said only one other state requires both parents to be notified after abuse or neglect outside of the home.
“Jacob is a very strong man,” Vogel said.
Dayton said much the same thing and thanked Gould, Guggisberg and their family for working on the bill.