Idaho Lawmaker Rape Complaint Hearing

Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, right, a Republican from Lewiston, watches as members of the House ethics committee discuss whether he acted in a way that was "unbecoming" to his position in connection with rape allegations brought against him by a 19-year-old intern, during a hearing in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

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The Idaho House Ethics Committee on Thursday voted unanimously to take the strongest possible actions against Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston, calling for his immediate suspension from office and for the House to expel him — and less than three hours later, he resigned rather than face an expulsion vote.

Committee members strongly condemned the behavior of the freshman state representative, who is accused of the rape of a 19-year-old House intern, plus pursuing, dating or asking out a total of four women employed in the Capitol this year, including, in some cases, sexual contact.

It would have taken a two-thirds vote of the House to expel von Ehlinger, and a majority vote to suspend and censure him.

Von Ehlinger was unrepentant in his resignation letter, writing, "I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing."

The Boise Police Department has a criminal investigation under way into the rape allegation. Von Ehlinger, who has not been criminally charged, maintains the sexual encounter with the young intern was consensual.

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Friday's print edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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