Preliminary hearing scheduled for former Idaho legislator accused of rape

Former Lewiston representative Aaron von Ehlinger faces two felony charges

By: - October 13, 2021 10:26 am

Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger sits behind his attorney, Jon Cox, in his attorney’s office during an online arraignment Wednesday morning before Ada County Magistrate Judge John Hawley Jr. (Screenshot).

A preliminary hearing for former legislator Aaron von Ehlinger will be held at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 29, following his arraignment before a judge Wednesday morning.

Von Ehlinger, 39, is charged with rape and forcible penetration by use of a foreign object, both felonies. A no contact order was also issued. The charges are based on accusations that von Ehlinger raped a 19-year-old legislative intern on March 9, when the former intern said the two went to dinner and then to his apartment.

The woman, known as Jane Doe, said von Ehlinger held her down and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to her testimony during an April 28 hearing of the House Ethics and Policy Committee.

Von Ehlinger has maintained he is innocent and said the sexual activity was consensual.

The Idaho Capital Sun does not identify the names of alleged victims of rape or sexual assault.

Von Ehlinger appeared before Magistrate Judge John Hawley Jr. on Wednesday during an online hearing. He was arrested and booked into Ada County Jail on Friday afternoon after being extradited from Georgia to Idaho, then released. Von Ehlinger was arrested as a fugitive from justice in Clayton County, Georgia, on Sept. 24 as he traveled back from Central America.

His attorney, Jon Cox, says von Ehlinger was on a pre-planned vacation with family in Central America since May, before the warrant was issued, and he had intended to turn himself in when he reached Idaho.  

Following the House Ethics and Policy Committee hearings, von Ehlinger resigned his legislative seat at the end of April. Boise Police Department investigated the criminal accusations and referred charges to the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, and a warrant was issued for von Ehlinger’s arrest on Sept. 9.

Von Ehlinger served in the Legislature for less than one year. Gov. Brad Little appointed von Ehlinger to the Idaho House of Representatives on June 3, 2020, to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Thyra Stevenson. Von Ehlinger then ran unopposed in the November 2020 general election, where he was elected to a two-year term. 

If convicted, von Ehlinger would face between one year and life in prison and have to register with the Idaho sex offender registry, according to Idaho Code

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.