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Ethics hearing: Idaho lawmaker accused of rape pleads Fifth

von Ehlinger
Posted at 1:33 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 11:20:33-04

BOISE, Idaho — Lewiston Republican Representative Aaron von Ehlinger who is facing allegations of rape appeared before the House Ethics and Policy committee Wednesday.

The committee is hearing complaints from the leadership of the House of Representatives to decide whether von Ehlinger's conduct is unbecoming of a Legislator.

The committee can decide to either dismiss the complaints, levy a censure, a formal statement of disapproval, or even expel him from the Idaho Legislature.

Wednesday's hearing was not a criminal proceeding and can not be used in criminal court, but was advised by his attorney to use his fifth amendment right to refuse from answering certain questions.

Rep. von Ehlinger confirmed in the hearing that a sexual encounter happened that night in March, but continues to deny the allegations of rape saying it was consensual.

The 19-year-old, identified as Jane Doe, said he raped her and repeatedly told him no in a variation of ways. During her statements she had dinner with the representative and he drove them back to his apartment in downtown Boise where the alleged rape occurred.

Rep. von Ehlinger's attorney cross examined doe but his questions were often objected by Doe's counsel. The committee chair said that the questions where more acceptable for a criminal hearing rather than the mission of the House Ethics and Policy Committee.

After leaving the room a loud scream could be heard from Jane Doe.

A Denim Day demonstration was being held outside the Statehouse during the hearing where one of the speakers said she accosted by a group of people and Idaho State Police had to intervene.

"We are wearing denim today because...we are in solidarity; we are letting her now that we see her, we believe her and that we are with her," one of the speakers said.

"We heard of other allegations of conduct, advances toward staff members and other members of the public that work in the building," House Speaker Scott Bedke said during Wednesday's hearing. This led House leadership to file a complaint with the House Ethics and Policy Committee.

During Wednesday's hearing, Jane Doe confronted the committee for saying she must make a public statement but said she understood they had a job to do and that she forgives them.

The House Ethics and Policy Committee is scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday to decide what actions to against von Ehlinger, if any.

A criminal investigation is still open by Boise Police, but no charges have yet been filed.