BOISE (AP) – A trial judge has said there is enough evidence for a rape case against a former state lawmaker to advance to court.
Aaron von Ehlinger, 39, was a representative for the Republican state of Lewiston when a 19-year-old law intern reported that he had brought her to his apartment under false pretenses and raped her. Von Ehlinger denied any wrongdoing and maintained that he had consensual sexual contact with the woman. The Associated Press does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they agree to be publicly named.
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In a preliminary hearing Friday, Ada County investigating judge Kira Dale said there were enough probable reasons that von Ehlinger would stand trial for the felony of rape and forcible penetration through use. of a foreign object. She made the decision after hearing testimony from a nurse who performed a medical examination for sexual assault on the intern and a detective who said she collected a DNA sample from von Ehlinger during the investigation .
The DNA sample matched bodily fluids taken from the intern during the rape exam, Ada County assistant prosecutor Katelyn Farley told court.
Anne Wardle, a nurse examiner specializing in sexual assault who examined the intern after reporting the assault, said the young woman was upset and in tears and said she had a pain in her arm from which she said von Ehlinger had used his knees to support her during the assault.
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Wardle also said the intern had a goose egg-like size on the back of her head. The intern told Wardle the injury occurred when she hit her head against a headboard while trying to get away from von Ehlinger, who grabbed her by the hair.
Von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, admitted there was enough evidence to send the criminal case back to district court, but noted that preliminary hearings are based only on probable cause, which, according to him, was “the lowest standard of proof in criminal law”.
Cox told the court he expected the outcome to be different when he was given the opportunity to fully question state witnesses, including the intern who reported the rape.
Von Ehlinger is due to be brought to justice in district court on November 8. He has not yet had the opportunity to plead. Rape and forcible penetration through the use of a foreign object carry maximum sentences of life in prison.
Earlier this year, during a legislative ethics committee hearing, von Ehlinger claimed he had done nothing illegal when he met the intern. The committee, however, found that von Ehlinger had engaged in “improper behavior” and said it would support a vote to remove him from the Idaho Statehouse. Von Ehlinger resigned before the vote.