Ex-legislator accused of rape pleads not guilty

Ex-Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

District Judge Michael Reardon accepted a not guilty plea Monday in the case involving a former legislator accused of raping a legislative intern. 

Aaron von Ehlinger, 39, of Juliaetta, is charged on accusations of rape and forcible penetration with a foreign object, both felony charges. 

He pleaded not guilty to both charges through his defense attorney Jon Cox, who appeared virtually at the Monday hearing.

The alleged assault occurred on March 9, during the Legislative session. Von Ehlinger has maintained all contact with the woman was consensual. 

Von Ehlinger answered basic “yes” and  “no” questions about his rights when asked by the judge, but did not make a statement.

Reardon set the trial, which is expected to last four to five days, for April 26. 

He will have a status conference on April 11 in Ada County. Meanwhile, von Ehlinger is not in jail custody. 

The suspected victim reported the assault to legislative leadership and police, triggering a criminal investigation and a House ethics investigation. In April, the Ethics and House Policy Committee voted unanimously to recommend his censure and immediate suspension, but von Ehlinger resigned from the House of Representatives.

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