Ex-legislator’s sentencing temporarily delayed in rape case

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office handcuffed Aaron von Ehlinger on April 29, 2022, after being convicted by a jury of felony rape. (Photo courtesy of James Dawson, Boise State Public Radio)

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

The ex-legislator convicted of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern in 2021 will not be sentenced on Thursday as originally planned.

An Ada County jury convicted Aaron von Ehlinger, 40, of rape in April in connection to the woman’s allegations. He’s been in jail custody since the conviction.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, asked in a motion that the courts either retry or acquit his client. 

Fourth Judicial District Judge Michael Reardon did not agree to granting von Ehlinger a new trial, but did agree to hear arguments on Cox’s motion on Aug. 25. Until then, von Ehlinger remains in custody.

Von Ehlinger appeared noticeably thinner in court on Monday, wearing an orange Ada County Jail jumpsuit.

The Ada County prosecution argued that the motion was “about delaying for delay’s sake.”

Reardon said he wanted to keep the case moving forward and recognized that granting a new trial would mean creating more stress on the victim.

Von Ehlinger, of Juliaetta, resigned from the legislature in 2021 after facing a public House ethics hearing over the woman’s allegations. At the time, he claimed all interactions with the woman were consensual.

The woman claimed von Ehlinger forced himself on her when he took her to his apartment. 

His resignation came hours after the House Ethics and Policy Committee voted unanimously to recommend the House censure and immediately suspend von Ehlinger.

A rape conviction is punishable by up to life in prison. 

<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, where she’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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