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Ex-Idaho state lawmaker sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping a legislative intern


By Paradise Afshar, CNN

A former Idaho state lawmaker was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday after being found guilty earlier this year of raping a 19-year-old state legislative intern in 2021.

Aaron von Ehlinger, 40, was found guilty in April of a rape charge, while also being acquitted of a charge of forcible penetration by use of a foreign object, according to court documents.

Ada County District Judge Michael Reardon sentenced von Ehlinger to 20 years in prison for the guilty conviction, with eligibility for parole after eight years. The Ada County prosecutor’s office had recommended a 40-year sentence with 15 years fixed prior to parole eligibility, according to a release from county prosecutor Jan Bennetts’ office.

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

CNN has reached out to von Ehlinger’s attorney for comment.

The victim, then a 19-year-old intern for a different lawmaker, accused von Ehlinger — then a 38-year-old Republican state representative — of engaging in nonconsensual sexual acts with her in March 2021 after taking her to dinner.

Von Ehlinger resigned in April 2021 after a state House committee heard the intern’s allegations and unanimously recommended that von Ehlinger be censured and stripped of the powers of his office without pay. He was charged in the case later that year.

Von Ehlinger has said the sexual encounter was consensual.

The Republican first took office in June 2020, when Idaho’s governor appointed him to fill a vacancy in the state House. He was then elected to a full term in November 2020.

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