Former State Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger Arrested In Georgia On Rape Warrant
Former state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger has been arrested in Georgia more than two weeks after Ada County issued a warrant for rape and sexual assault charges.
Von Ehlinger was arrested and booked into the Clayton County jail Saturday night and labeled as a “fugitive from justice.” Clayton County is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and is where Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located.
A judge on Monday considered setting bond, but it was denied, according to Clayton County court records.
The booking information lists his residence as Julliaetta (sic), Iowa, but an Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson confirmed him to be the former state representative from Lewiston.
The extradition process from Georgia to Idaho is not immediately clear.
Von Ehlinger resigned in May after a blistering ethics hearing over accusations he had raped a 19-year-old legislative staffer.
Boise State Public Radio doesn’t identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
The woman, who is known by the pseudonym Jane Doe, said she went to dinner with von Ehlinger in March. Afterwards, they went back to his apartment where she said he forced her into oral sex.
Von Ehlinger has repeatedly said the encounter was consensual.
In House ethics committee investigation transcripts and at the hearing, three other women who work, or at the time worked, at the Idaho Capitol reported he made them feel “uncomfortable.”
One of the women, a security guard, testified she had sex with von Ehlinger after a couple of dates. When asked whether it was consensual, she said, “Uncomfortably, I guess.”
His defense during the ethics inquiry rested on the fact that no House rule existed preventing him from dating members of staff.
Von Ehlinger’s case became a rallying cry for many far-right lawmakers who believed he was targeted because of his conservative beliefs.
That campaign sparked its own ethics hearing after Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird) posted a link to a far-right blog post on her Facebook page that revealed Jane Doe’s identity and photo.
Giddings called von Ehlinger “Idaho’s own [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh,” urging people to “Follow the money!”
The House ethics committee recommended censuring Giddings and stripping her of a committee assignment in August. The full House has yet to act on those recommendations.
Von Ehlinger was first elected as a state representative in 2020 after challenging former Rep. Thyra Stevenson (R-Nezperce). Stevenson died just weeks before the Republican primary and von Ehlinger went unchallenged in the general election.
Raised in Orofino, von Ehlinger later served in the U.S. Army Airborne Division in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002.
Earlier this year, the Lewiston Tribune reported the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Paroles pardoned von Ehlinger for several misdemeanor crimes, including reckless driving, careless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use and driving an unregistered motorcycle.
He attributed his actions to having trouble readjusting to civilian life after leaving the military.
“There were some issues I needed to work out after the military — and that’s exactly what I did,” he told the Tribune. “I repented my sins and handed my life to Jesus Christ. My personal walk with Jesus is what turned my life around.”
He also legally changed his name from Aaron Anson Ehlinger to Aaron Anson von Ehlinger while he attended the University of Alabama in 2017.
Von Ehlinger dismissed the idea he changed his name to hide his criminal history as “ridiculous.” He said it was done for “security reasons,” but declined to go into detail with the Tribune.
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