Idaho Lawmaker Accused of Raping an Intern Resigns

An Idaho lawmaker who the police say is the main focus of a prison investigation into allegations that he raped a 19-year-old feminine legislative intern final month resigned on Thursday — the identical day that an ethics committee really helpful that he be suspended.

In a unanimous vote by the House Ethics and Policy Committee, the lawmaker, State Representative Aaron von Ehlinger, a Republican from Lewiston, Idaho, was discovered to have engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of a consultant.

The committee stated as half of a censure suggestion to the total House that Mr. von Ehlinger, who has not been charged with against the law, needs to be barred from workplace with out pay for the remaining of the legislative session. The panel additionally stated it could assist a movement to expel him from the Legislature, the place he had served for lower than a 12 months.

The disciplinary motion got here sooner or later after Mr. von Ehlinger declined to reply the committee’s questions in regards to the allegations throughout a prolonged public listening to through which he invoked the Fifth Amendment proper in opposition to self-incrimination.

Mr. von Ehlinger, 38, denied the allegations in a resignation letter that he despatched on Thursday to Idaho’s House speaker, however stated that he wouldn’t be capable of proceed to signify his constituents successfully.

“I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing of which I have been accused in this matter, let alone any violation of any law, rule, or policy of the state of Idaho or of this body,” he wrote. He additionally stated that it could be tough for him do his job going through potential expulsion.

“It is my hope that this action spares my good colleagues any more difficulty in this matter,” the letter stated.

The pupil intern, who testified earlier than the committee on Wednesday, instructed the House assistant sergeant-at-arms on March 11 that Mr. von Ehlinger had sexually assaulted her after that they had dinner at a Boise, Idaho, restaurant on March 9, in line with one of her legal professionals. Instead of taking her again to her automotive, the lawyer stated, Mr. von Ehlinger drove her again to his condo and raped her.

Mr. von Ehlinger had beforehand instructed legislators in a non-public interview that his sexual contact with the intern had been consensual, in line with the committee, whose members repeatedly admonished him on Thursday.

“His behavior has poisoned the reputation of all of us and tarnished and discredited other elected officials who serve,” Representative Wendy Horman, a Republican from Idaho Falls, stated in the course of the committee’s assembly.

The committee’s members stated that Mr. von Ehlinger, who’s single, had engaged in a sample of inappropriate conduct within the office, pursuing relationships with a number of feminine House workers members, some of whom had been subordinates.

“The representative’s aggressive tactics towards women are unsettling,” Representative John McCrostie, a Democrat from Garden City, stated in the course of the assembly.

A spokeswoman for the Boise Police Department stated in an e mail on Thursday that there was an open investigation into the allegations in opposition to Mr. von Ehlinger.

Erika Birch, a lawyer for the intern, who was recognized in a criticism as Jane Doe, stated in an e mail on Thursday that Mr. von Ehlinger had failed to simply accept duty for his actions.

“It is inexcusable that he waited until his fate was inescapable to resign,” Ms. Birch stated. “While we are pleased he is out of the Legislature and unable to prey on any more young women at our Statehouse, his actions are simply unforgivable.”

Ms. Birch stated that the intern, a university pupil who graduated from highschool final 12 months and had been working for an additional House Republican, had been additional violated when a letter figuring out her was launched as half of Mr. von Ehlinger’s protection. Local media outlets reported {that a} former lawyer for Mr. von Ehlinger had despatched the letter.

“Von Ehlinger could have and should have taken responsibility for his actions from the outset,” Ms. Birch stated. “Instead, he forced our teenaged client to suffer through weeks of the Ethics Committee investigation and ultimately having to testify in a public hearing. Worse yet, he released his written defense without redacting her identity, which has led to a campaign of harassment and bullying of her.”

Mr. von Ehlinger and his present lawyer didn’t instantly reply to requests for extra touch upon Thursday.

Appointed final June by Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, to fill a vacancy caused by a lawmaker’s death, Mr. von Ehlinger ran unopposed in the November election. In a profile final spring, The Lewiston Tribune reported that Mr. von Ehlinger had labored in its place instructor after a army profession, along with working in non-public safety and actual property.

In a press release issued on Thursday earlier than Mr. von Ehlinger’s resignation, Mr. Little stated that elected officers have to be held to a better normal.

“I applaud Jane Doe and the other brave women for their courage in telling their stories and participating in this process to hold Representative Aaron von Ehlinger accountable for his deeply damaging and shameful actions,” Mr. Little stated. “Representative von Ehlinger’s inappropriate and alarming actions stand in opposition to the values and behavior state elected officials must uphold.”

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