Former Idaho state lawmaker gets 20 years in prison for raping intern

Former Republican Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday after he was convicted in April of raping an intern. 

Ehlinger resigned his seat a year ago after an ethics commission recommended he be banned from the state House. He was convicted of raping a 19-year-old intern who was working for a different lawmaker after the two had dinner together.

During the sentencing, Fourth District Judge Michael Reardon said Ehlinger showed a lack of remorse or empathy for his victim and declared that he wasn’t ready for sex offender treatment.

Ehlinger will have to serve at least eight years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Pattern of excuses

The prison sentence would at least keep him from committing any further crimes during that time, the judge reasoned.

Testifying before the hearing, Ehlinger trumpeted his military experience and said that he had protected women in the Middle East, as though that mitigated the rape.

“You have a pattern of explaining, excusing, deflecting, and blaming others for the circumstances you find yourself in,” Reardon said.

The victim in the attack also testified, saying she was “terrified” but wanted to take a stand “for the future of any Jane and John Doe here in Idaho.”

Justice served

“I am here now. I am here scared, I am here frightened, I am so petrified, but I will not be intimidated into silence so that another rapist can slip through the cracks of this justice system,” the victim, known as Jane Doe for her protection, said in the recording. “I hope he rots in pieces behind those cold metal bars.”

“I want to thank Jane Doe for the courage she has demonstrated in this case,” prosecutor Jan Bennetts said in a press release. “I appreciate the tireless work done by the Boise Police detectives on this case, which allowed my team to ensure justice was served.”

Ehlinger has maintained that the sex was consensual.

He was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy in June 2020, and was elected that November to fill the seat for a full term.