Rape case against former legislator proceeds to district court

Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger will enter a plea in early November 

By: - October 29, 2021 4:55 pm
Former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger in court

Former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, stands next to von Ehlinger at his preliminary hearing at the Ada County Courthouse on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

Ada County Magistrate Judge Kira Dale found sufficient probable cause in the case against former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger at his preliminary hearing Friday to continue the case in Fourth District Court.

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 in March, when the former intern said the two went to dinner and then to his apartment.

Von Ehlinger is scheduled for a district court arraignment at 2 p.m. Nov. 8, where he will enter a plea. If he enters a plea of not guilty, the case will proceed to a jury trial.

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 and refers to the former intern as Jane Doe.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley called two witnesses at the hearing on Friday. The first was Anne Wardle, a registered nurse at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center who is also a sexual assault nurse examiner. Wardle said she examined Doe after the night in question at the Faces of Hope Victim Center in Boise, and she made notes of Doe’s statements and physical condition.

Doe thought she and von Ehlinger were going back to her car after dinner when they stopped at his apartment and sat on the couch together, Wardle said. Doe said he “picked her up off the couch and took her to the bedroom” where he groped her, used his fingers to penetrate her vaginally, and forced her to perform oral sex while sitting on her chest and pinning her arms beneath his legs. Wardle said Doe told von Ehlinger she did not want to engage in any sexual activity and she thought it was wrong.

Wardle said Doe had a bump on the back of her head where Doe said she hit the headboard while she was trying to jerk her body away from von Ehlinger, but no other physical injuries.

Boise Police Department detective Monte Iverson, who investigated the case, also testified to receiving a letter from von Ehlinger’s previous attorney, Edward Dindinger, acknowledging the sexual activity took place but that it was consensual.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, attempted to question both witnesses at the hearing about Doe’s statements but was hindered by objections of hearsay and speculation from the state.

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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.