Former Idaho legislator faces arrest warrant on 2 felony charges, including rape

By Hayat Norimine

BOISE, Idaho — The former Idaho legislator who resigned earlier this year after a House ethics hearing now faces two felony charges — including one for rape.

An arrest warrant has been issued in Ada County’s 4th District Court for Aaron von Ehlinger, the former Republican state legislator from Lewiston who stepped down after a 19-year-old legislative intern’s accusation of sexual assault.

The Lewiston Tribune first reported the news Friday afternoon. The warrant was issued Thursday.

The 39-year-old von Ehlinger has been charged with rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object, both felonies, according to Ada County Sheriff’s Office online records.

The intern, referred to as Jane Doe, filed a police report against von Ehlinger in which she said that he forced oral sex on her in March. The Boise Police Department opened an investigation and filed its report with the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, according to BPD.

Von Ehlinger has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his actions with the intern were consensual. He resigned just hours after the Idaho House ethics committee recommended expelling him from his seat, following a finding that he engaged in “conduct unbecoming.” Ethics committee members noted they were not conducting any inquiry into possible criminal matters, but said they found he had a pattern of predatory behavior toward women who worked in the Idaho Capitol.

“It is my hope that this action spares my good colleagues any more difficulty in this area,” von Ehlinger’s resignation letter stated. “I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing of which I have been accused in this matter, let alone any violation of any law, rule or policy of the state of Idaho or of this body.”

The Idaho Statesman could not obtain a copy of the arrest documents because the case is sealed, according to the Ada County Clerk’s Office. The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, told the Statesman on Friday that the House has followed its process through the ethics panel, and now it’s in the hands of the prosecution.

“The House process was followed to a T,” Bedke said. “I think citizens should take some comfort in the fact that the House process worked.”

Also on Friday, Jane Doe’s attorney, Erika Birch, filed a tort claim with the state, the first step in possible civil litigation. Her claims target the Legislature and several Republican lawmakers.

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