Idaho lawmaker Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger resigned from his position on April 29, 2021. The Idaho lawmaker’s resignation comes amidst allegations of rape by a 19-year-old intern. An investigation was launched after the young woman reported that he had raped her after dinner at a Boise, Idaho restaurant. An ethics committee ruled that Von Ehlinger should be formally censured for his actions. Before his resignation, the committee agreed unanimously to suspend him without pay for the rest of the legislative session.
Von Ehlinger claims that the sexual contact with the intern was consensual. He denies any wrongdoing. The panel also recommended that he be held in contempt for refusing to answer some questions during his testimony.
Additionally, the panel agreed they would unanimously support a motion to expel Von Ehlinger if any Idaho House member decides to make one.
Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Wendy Horman said von Ehlinger was inconsistent in his testimony, and the evidence showed despite repeated warnings, he maintained a pattern of hitting on subordinates.
The decision from the ethics panel came after hours of testimony, including that of the staffer. She used the alias Jane Doe during the proceedings and was protected from public view by a black screen during her gut-wrenching testimony.
Nevertheless, Republican Rep. Priscilla Giddings revealed the teenager’s identity in a social media post. Rep. Giddings also posted a link embedded in a constituent newsletter.
In a statement released by the young woman’s attorneys, Erika Birch and Annie Hightower said, “Every time a system fails to protect survivors, it reinforces why survivors of sexual violence choose not to report and to suffer in silence.” The Boise Police Department is currently investigating the case, and no charges have been made.
Written by Ebonee Stevenson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CBS News: Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger resigns after intern accusing him of rape testifies before ethics panel
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Kevin Rank’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License