BOISE, Idaho — Aaron von Ehlinger, the former Idaho state representative convicted of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern, was sentenced to at least eight years in prison, 20 years total, on Wednesday.
He will receive credit for 139 days served and must pay $2,015 in restitution.
Ada County District Judge Michael Reardon told von Ehlinger, "I have to come to the conclusion that your denial demonstrated lack of empathy... I wrote down two words. Victim and hero. You see yourself as a victim and you see yourself as a hero. I don't see you as either one of those things," he said. "You have a pattern of explaining, excusing, deflecting, blaming others for situations you find yourself in."
Jane Doe, the victim who KTVB is keeping anonymous, gave a recorded impact statement to the court where she said she refused to be intimidated to "let another rapist slip through the cracks."
"I have never felt more ashamed, belittled, powerless and dehumanized," Doe said. "I will never forget the strength and force of his grip."
Doe went on: "Have you ever tasted the blood from biting the inside of your lips, because you couldn't say 'no' louder?"
Jon Cox, von Ehlinger's attorney, said the prosecution painted his client out to be "a monster." He asked for a three year rehabilitation program. Cox told Reardon the state attorneys made it seem like his client was "running a human trafficking" ring and insisted this was nothing more than a relationship between the two.
"He is not a deviant monster who is preying on unsuspecting, immature girls," Cox said. "He doesn't lay out in the bushes waiting for young girls to walk by so he can forcibly rape them."
Cox went on: "This is not a picture of a monster. This is a military man who provided service to our country."
Von Ehlinger gave a statement to the court as well. He said he was an upstanding military man who was destined to serve and protect his country and others.
"Before my trial.. I went on a pilgrimage to the holy land of Israel, I was baptized in the Jordan River... I was required to confess all my sins... Rape was not one of the sins I could confess to. It would be a sin to confess to something I did not do," he said. "My military training and service was used against me in trial. As American soldiers we are trained to do the right thing."
26 letters of support were sent to the court addressing personal opinions that von Ehlinger is "a good guy," including House Republican lawmaker Vito Barbeiri.
The psycho-sexual evaluation the court ordered of von Ehlinger determined that he was a moderate risk, the state said, but this is only because he "deceived" the examiners about his motives in order to produce a favorable result, and the judge agreed.
Ada County Prosecutor Katelyn Farley said that it is difficult to deter someone of their behavior when they can not accept responsibility for what they have done.
She requested 15 years fixed, and 40 years total.
Ada County Prosecutor's Office sent out a statement after the sentencing, where they thanked Jane Doe for her courage to come forward and said the work Boise Police detectives put into the case to ensure justice was served is appreciated.
Von Ehlinger has been held in the Ada County Jail since April, when a 12-person jury unanimously found him guilty of raping a 19-year-old statehouse intern that he worked with.
Von Ehlinger, a Republican from Latah County, resigned his seat in the Idaho House a month after a legislative ethics committee found that he had committed "conduct unbecoming a representative" in his sexual pursuit of the intern and several other women who worked at the Statehouse.
The former lawmaker has maintained his innocence throughout the process, as well as at his sentencing, insisting on the stand the two had consensual sex after going on a date and that it was "passionate."
Earlier this month, Ehlinger's defense filed a motion for a new trial, claiming that the state was "leading" one of the testifying witnesses, sexual assault nurse Ann Wardle, who testified to Doe's injuries and her statements about the incident after examining her.
At the Aug. 25 hearing, District Judge Michael Reardon responded saying, "There is no question if penetration occurred. The question was, was it consensual? The jury was free to believe or disbelieve the statements from the nurse, and they chose to believe her."
Aaron von Ehlinger's sentencing was at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 31.
Reporter Alexandra Duggan was live-tweeting from the courtroom.
Follow along on Twitter @dugganreports.
Live updates here:
4:37 p.m. No reaction from VE rn.
4:36 p.m. Reardon: "You have a pattern of explaining, excusing, deflecting, blaming others for situations you find yourself in"
4:35 p.m. Reardon: There were vast differences in age, size, power, between the victim. I am persuaded you manipulated those things to your advantage.
4:34 p.m. Reardon: Your failure to address her injuries stands in stark contrast to your claim everything was ok.
4:30 p.m. 26 letters of support were given to the court about VE, the judge says.
4:30 p.m. Reardon: All the factors, it seems to me, don't support a sentence that avoids imprisonment.
4:29 p.m. Reardon is saying factors that lead to avoiding imprisonment is whether or not they induced harm.
4:27 p.m. VE: "I ask for your mercy and leniency, whatever treatment you order I will take seriously, the same way I would in the military. Thank you for allowing me to address you."
4:26 p.m. VE said his former wife sent a letter to the court at attested that he "is a good man" with no problems... "at the end of the day, the jury made a decision... to disagree with my innocence... with that decision, I must endure the consequences."
4:24 p.m. VE is talking about the invasion of the Middle East, how he served... he is talking about helping Middle Eastern women.
4:23 p.m. VE: "My military training and service was used against me in trial. As American soldiers we are trained to do the right thing."
4:20 p.m. "From 2013, the board members were wondering why I requested a pardon for a misdemeanor like that. I did that because when I received it... I was scared straight. I got rid of the motorcycle and made a pledge to myself that I would be a law abiding citizen."
4:20 p.m. Aaron von Ehlinger is up to speak to the judge. "About a month or so before this situation began, I appeared before the board that handles pardons and I received a pardon for reckless driving..
4:18 p.m. Cox is asking for a 3+7 = 10 year sentence with retained jurisdiction and treatment, meaning if he messes up during this he will have to serve the underlying sentence.
4:15 p.m. Cox: recommendation to judge from what was requested was retained jurisdiction rider. VE told Cox that this was the most appropriate for him. Cox is estimating 8-9 months with the time he's served included.
4:14 p.m. Cox suggests a rider (which means he could get out on good behavior in x amount of months)
4:12 p.m. Cox says he would think a court should consider VE's life up until the point of the rape "38 years of your life can be tipped on its axis and changed forever in a three hour period".
4:10 p.m. Cox: "This is not a picture of a monster. This is a military man who provided service to our country." Cox says the idea VE used his power differential is untrue.
4:08 p.m. PSI said he had low motivation for sexual treatment, but Cox is saying that this is because VE maintains his innocence. "Aaron has a limited criminal history. Some were dismissed and pardoned. He has no crime of violence."
4:06 p.m. Cox is just reading through criteria of the PSI rn.
4:01 p.m. Cox: We know JD and VE flirted, we know she accepted his invitation, had dinner. "She agreed to go back to his apartment" "She agreed to go upstairs".
4:01 p.m. Cox is going over VE's background, like he did in trial. Talking about his military service, where he grew up, put himself through school, has a good relationship with his family - "He is not a deviant monster who is preying on unsuspecting, immature girls."
3:58 p.m. Cox is up now. He says the state's perception of VE would make you think he's "running a human trafficking" ring.
3:57 p.m. State is requesting a 40 year sentence with 15 years fixed.
3:55 p.m. State: it is very difficult to deter someone who cannot accept wrongdoings.
3:55 p.m. State: He attempted to present himself in a favorable light during the PSI to tamper with the data. Eval shows his motivation for treatment is below avg.
3:54 p.m. State: The PSI sheds light on his ability to be rehabilitated. He is a moderate risk but only if willing to be rehabilitated. Defendant attempted to deceive the testers from the PSI.
3:52 p.m. State: JD suffered additional trauma from being doxxed by VE supporters. "He has no remorse for the pain he caused."
3:52 p.m. State: "if the defendant cannot acknowledge wrongdoing he cannot engage in treatment to reduce risk".
3:51 p.m. VE testified, "Why not?" when asked why he was pursuing Doe, which the state brought up as a red flag.
3:50 p.m. Cox objects again. Reardon says he won't give these things significant weight but he will allow it.
3:48 p.m. Reardon: the things the court can take into consideration can include evidence of his past and uncharged/dismissed misconduct.
3:47 p.m State is referring to the 3 women who said they were uncomfortable by him from the ethics hearing last year at the statehouse. Cox objected because they are just allegations. Reardon said this was in the prosecutor's packet that Cox saw and read through.
3:45 p.m. "there is no sentence this court can give that can heal her scars." -Katelyn Farley.
3:44 p.m. State said he took a place she loved (the statehouse) and turned it into a place where she was taunted and harassed.
3:43 p.m State is asking for a protection order for essentially, forever. "The defendant's actions destroyed her dreams and career aspirations."
3:42 p.m. "I hope me coming forward can create a path for others to come forward." "I hope he rots behind those cold, metal bars."
3:40 p.m "I will never forget the strength and force of his grip."
3:36 p.m. State is providing a recorded impact statement from Doe. Cox is objecting because he wants to review the statement. Reardon: Victims are not required to provide this ahead of time. My inclination is to hear it.
3:34 p.m. We are beginning. Judge Michael Reardon is going over the charges and the trial verdict. The state wanted to address a recorded call between VE and his parents about the victim and the results of the trial. Reardon doesn't want to consider this today.
3:29 p.m. Jon Cox, von Ehlinger's attorney, entered the courtroom in a navy suit and a baby blue tie.
3:26 p.m. von Ehlinger is eyeing the gallery -- which is pretty much full.
3:23 p.m. Victim witness coordinators have also arrived.
3:18 p.m HAPPENING NOW: I am in the courtroom for Aaron von Ehlinger's sentencing, which is set to begin in 15 minutes. We've got nearly a full house of reporters and some citizens here in support of Jane Doe as well.
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