Former Lewiston state representative Aaron von Ehlinger was arrested in Georgia over the weekend and is awaiting extradition back to Idaho.
The arrest came more than two weeks after Ada County issued a warrant for the 39-year-old former lawmaker, charging him with two felony counts of rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object.
The warrant stems from an incident in March, when von Ehlinger was serving his first term in the Idaho Legislature.
Following a dinner date with a 19-year-old House intern, he took her back to his apartment and they had sex. Von Ehlinger said the sex was consensual, but the intern told House officials that he raped her.
Inmate records from Clayton County, Georgia, indicate von Ehlinger was arrested Saturday evening and charged with being a fugitive from justice.
Clayton County is located immediately south of the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Details regarding the arrest were not immediately available. The inmate records indicate he is being held without bond.
The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment. The records in the rape case have also been sealed, pending von Ehlinger’s arrest and return to Idaho.
Public Information Officer Patrick Orr with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said when a fugitive is arrested in another state, they can either fight extradition or waive their extradition rights.
“We know that von Ehlinger is in custody on an Ada County warrant, but we aren’t sure yet what his extradition status is or how to get him back here,” Orr said.
Once the extradition process is resolved, he said, deputies could either fly out and bring von Ehlinger back by plane or by bus.
“In general, if someone fights extradition, it lengthens the process because there are court hearings,” Orr said. “If they waive extradition, then it’s simply a matter of how do we get them back here.”
After the intern reported von Ehlinger, he repeatedly claimed he was innocent not only of any criminal wrongdoing, but of any breach of “the concepts of appropriate social conduct.”
The House Ethics Committee disagreed. Even setting aside the rape allegation, it concluded that he engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the Idaho House. It recommended that von Ehlinger be censured and suspended without pay for the remainder of his term. He resigned in April, before the full House could vote on the matter.
Von Ehlinger grew up in Orofino and enlisted in the U.S. Army’s delayed entry program when he was 17. He left for Fort Benning, Ga., right out of high school, and later served in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division.
Fort Benning is about 100 miles south of Atlanta.
After receiving an honorable discharge, von Ehlinger earned a degree from the University of Alabama and then returned to Idaho.
He subsequently had a number of minor run-ins with the law, including a 2009 careless driving arrest, a 2011 charge for possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use, and a 2013 reckless driving complaint.
All of the arrests were on misdemeanor charges. He pled guilty in each of the cases and paid the relevant fines. The drug charge was dismissed after he completed a six-month probation; he also served three days in jail for the reckless driving offense.
Von Ehlinger requested and received a pardon from the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Paroles earlier this year, saying he was “a different person than the one who committed the misdemeanors, and he is a law-abiding citizen and God-fearing man.”
“I own up to my actions,” he said, when asked about the pardon request. “I am a Christian man and I believe in forgiveness. I repent and ask forgiveness for the sins I’ve committed.”
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