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Former Idaho lawmaker charged with rape makes first court appearance

Aaron von Ehlinger, 39, is charged with felony counts of rape and forcible penetration.
Credit: Ada County Sheriff's Office
Former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger

BOISE, Idaho — A former state representative accused of sexually assaulting a legislative intern earlier this year appeared in court Wednesday for his initial arraignment.

Aaron von Ehlinger, 39, is charged with felony counts of rape and forcible penetration. The intern, a 19-year-old woman KTVB is referring to as Jane Doe, told police that von Ehlinger forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Boise apartment in March after the pair went out to dinner together.

Von Ehlinger, a Republican from Juliaetta, resigned from his seat in the Idaho House in April after a legislative ethics committee found that he had committed "conduct unbecoming a representative" in his romantic pursuit of the 19-year-old and several other women who worked at the Idaho Capitol. 

A warrant for the former lawmaker's arrest was issued in September. Von Ehlinger had left the country months prior on what his lawyer described as an extended vacation in Central America; he was taken into custody at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 25 when his flight back into the United States landed. 

Von Ehlinger spent nearly two weeks in the Clayton County Jail in Georgia before returning to Idaho. He is currently free on his own recognizance, and appeared in court via video conferencing alongside his lawyer, Jon Cox. 

The suspect spoke little during the Wednesday hearing, telling the judge he "was aware of" the case when asked whether he understood the charges against him. Von Ehlinger has been ordered to have no contact with Jane Doe. 

If convicted, von Ehlinger could face up to life in prison and be ordered to register as a sex offender. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing Oct. 29. 

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