Ada County District Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of former Lewiston Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger on charges of rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object.
The move comes almost exactly six months after von Ehlinger took a 19-year-old House intern back to his Boise apartment following a dinner date.
Von Ehlinger said they had consensual sex. The intern, however, alleged that the 39-year-old first-term lawmaker forced her to perform oral sex.
The woman reported the incident to House officials the next day. That led to a formal ethics complaint being filed against von Ehlinger.
The House Ethics Committee didn’t try to resolve the rape claim, saying that was a matter for the police. The five-member panel did fault von Ehlinger, though, for using his position to hit on women.
After a two-day hearing, the committee unanimously recommended that von Ehlinger be censured and suspended without pay for two years. He resigned on April 29, before the full House could vote on the matter.
The Boise Police Department spent several weeks investigating the rape allegations. The case was later forwarded to the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office.
The office had no comment Friday, saying only that cases are typically sealed until an arrest has been made. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office lists an open warrant for von Ehlinger’s arrest on the two felony charges.
Von Ehlinger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The allegations have been an ongoing saga, not only for the intern and for von Ehlinger, derailing his once-promising legislative career, but for his allies in the House as well.
Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, for example, became the focus of two additional ethics complaints after she posted a link on her Facebook page to a Redoubt News article that named the House intern and included a photo of her.
The intern, identified in Ethics Committee documents as Jane Doe, was subsequently harassed after she left a committee hearing on von Ehlinger.
More than a third of House members, including 16 Republicans and eight Democrats, signed the complaints against Giddings. The House Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that she be censured and stripped of a committee assignment, saying she lied to the committee and to the public and engaged in other behavior detrimental to the Idaho House.
The House, which is currently out on recess, is expected to consider the committee’s recommendation whenever it comes back into session.
As first reported by Idaho Reports on Friday, Jane Doe has also filed a tort claim against the state (see related story). It alleges that the Legislature, including members of leadership, “knew that von Ehlinger had engaged in inappropriate behavior with young women whom he worked with or had contact with via his work as an elected official.”
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