According to the Idaho Stateman, a 39-year-old former Idaho lawmaker von Ehlinger was convicted of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern by a 12-person jury on Friday, after a dramatic trial in which the young woman fled the witness stand during testimony, claiming “I can’t do this.”
Aaron von Ehlinger, a former Republican state representative from Idaho, was convicted guilty of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern.
The jury found von Ehlinger guilty exactly one year after the Idaho House Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the legislature. After the vote, Von Ehlinger resigned from his position.
Aaron von Ehlinger assaulted the intern in his apartment after the two had eaten at a Boise restaurant in March 2021, the intern told a Statehouse supervisor. The sex, according to Von Ehlinger, was voluntary.
“This has been an unusual case with many unexpected circumstances, but I appreciate your attention… and hard work,” 4th District Judge Michael Reardon told the jury afterward.
In Idaho, a felony rape conviction carries a mandatory minimum penalty of one year in jail. At the judge’s discretion, the maximum penalty could be life in prison. The date for sentencing has been set for July 28.
While being remanded in detention and handcuffed, von Ehlinger spoke quietly with his attorney, who withdrew items from his pockets. The prosecution kept their composure as they walked out of the courthouse, but when they got to a lower floor, they paused to congratulate each other on the verdict.
The Associated Press does not usually identify persons who claim to have been sexually assaulted, so the lady in this case has been referred to as “Jane Doe” at her request. Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Jan Bennetts praised the jurors, detectives, and prosecutors who worked on the case during a press conference.
“Last but not least, the victim, in this case, Jane Doe, showed incredible courage in coming forward,” Bennetts added. “I’d like to congratulate her on her courage in coming forward.”
On the second day of the trial, Doe gave her testimony. She gave a hesitant account of the alleged assault’s beginnings before abruptly exiting the witness stand.