Ex-legislator von Ehlinger booked into Ada County jail on rape accusation

Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger resigned from his seat in April 2021 after a public ethics hearing.

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

Law enforcement booked the ex-legislator accused of raping a House intern into Ada County Jail on Friday, according to the Ada County Sheriff’s website

Aaron von Ehlinger was initially arrested and booked into jail in Clayton County, Georgia on Sept. 25 after an Ada County warrant was issued on Sept. 9. The warrant includes charges accusing him of rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object.

Von Ehlinger was arrested in Georgia on his way back from traveling in Central America, but his attorney maintained he was not fleeing arrest and the trip was pre-planned.

It wasn’t immediately clear on Friday afternoon when he would first appear in court.

Prosecutors filed charges against von Ehlinger, 39, of Lewiston, after he resigned from the Legislature following an ethics hearing on the assault allegations.

The House Ethics Committee held a public hearing on the subject in April after the 19-year-old victim reported the alleged incident to police and her supervisor at the capital. Other women who worked in the capital also reported harassment from von Ehlinger.

Von Ehlinger maintains the incident between him and the young woman was consensual. 

The committee members unanimously recommended censuring and immediately suspending von Ehlinger. He resigned from his seat just a few hours after the committee vote.

Idaho Reports does not disclose the names of sexual assault victims.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-Whitebird, also faced an ethics hearing on accusations that she publicly identified the accuser in von Ehlinger’s case.

The House Ethics Committee unanimously found that Giddings behaved in a manner unbecoming of a representative, and voted to recommend she be censured by the House and removed from her seat on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee. 

Because it is in recess, the full House of Representatives has not yet voted on whether to support the committee’s recommendations. 

Meanwhile, Giddings is actively campaigning in her run for the lieutenant governor’s seat in 2022.

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