Preliminary hearing scheduled for former GOP legislator accused of rape

A preliminary hearing for former legislator Aaron von Ehlinger will be held at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 29, following his arraignment before a judge Wednesday morning.

Von Ehlinger, 39, is charged with rape and forcible penetration by use of a foreign object, both felonies. A no contact order was also issued. The charges are based on accusations that von Ehlinger raped a 19-year-old legislative intern on March 9, when the former intern said the two went to dinner and then to his apartment.

The woman, known as Jane Doe, said von Ehlinger held her down and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to her testimony during an April 28 hearing of the House Ethics and Policy Committee.

Von Ehlinger has maintained he is innocent and said the sexual activity was consensual.

The Idaho Capital Sun does not identify the names of alleged victims of rape or sexual assault.

Von Ehlinger appeared before Magistrate Judge John Hawley Jr. on Wednesday during an online hearing. He was arrested and booked into Ada County Jail on Friday afternoon after being extradited from Georgia to Idaho, then released. Von Ehlinger was arrested as a fugitive from justice in Clayton County, Georgia, on Sept. 24 as he traveled back from Central America.

His attorney, Jon Cox, says von Ehlinger was on a pre-planned vacation with family in Central America since May, before the warrant was issued, and he had intended to turn himself in when he reached Idaho.

Following the House Ethics and Policy Committee hearings, von Ehlinger resigned his legislative seat at the end of April. Boise Police Department investigated the criminal accusations and referred charges to the Ada County Prosecutor's Office, and a warrant was issued for von Ehlinger's arrest on Sept. 9.

Von Ehlinger served in the Legislature for less than one year. Gov. Brad Little appointed von Ehlinger to the Idaho House of Representatives on June 3, 2020, to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Thyra Stevenson. Von Ehlinger then ran unopposed in the November 2020 general election, where he was elected to a two-year term.

If convicted, von Ehlinger would face between one year and life in prison and have to register with the Idaho sex offender registry, according to Idaho Code.


Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christine Lords for questions: info@idahocapitalsun.com. Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.

Former Idaho Republican representative arrested on fugitive charge in Georgia

Former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger was arrested Friday in Clayton County, Georgia, on a fugitive from justice charge, according to Clayton County court records.

Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Patrick Orr told the Idaho Capital Sun via email that von Ehlinger was arrested and in custody at the Clayton County Jail, which is located about 20 miles south of Atlanta. Von Ehlinger was denied bail by a judge on Monday, according to Clayton County records.

As of Monday morning, Orr said he did not know of immediate plans to extradite von Ehlinger back to Idaho or when that might take place.

The Lewiston Tribune first reported a warrant for von Ehlinger's arrest was issued by the Ada County District Court on Sept. 10, following an investigation by the Boise Police Department.

Von Ehlinger, who represented Lewiston in the Idaho Legislature, resigned his seat at the end of April following an ethics hearing in the Idaho House of Representatives over his conduct as a legislator. A 19-year-old intern on the legislative staff said von Ehlinger raped her by forcing her to perform oral sex. Two other female legislative staffers said von Ehlinger made them uncomfortable with unwanted advances.

Von Ehlinger has denied the accusation of rape, saying the sexual activity was consensual.

Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christine Lords for questions: info@idahocapitalsun.com. Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.

Former Idaho GOP lawmaker arrested on fugitive charge in Georgia after being accused of rape

Former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger was arrested Friday in Clayton County, Georgia, on a fugitive from justice charge, according to Clayton County court records.

Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Patrick Orr told the Idaho Capital Sun via email that von Ehlinger was arrested and in custody at the Clayton County Jail, which is located about 20 miles south of Atlanta. No bond amount is set, according to Clayton County records.

As of Monday morning, Orr said he did not know of immediate plans to extradite von Ehlinger back to Idaho or when that might take place.

The Lewiston Tribune first reported a warrant for von Ehlinger's arrest was issued by the Ada County District Court on Sept. 10, following an investigation by the Boise Police Department.

Von Ehlinger, who represented Lewiston in the Idaho Legislature, resigned his seat at the end of April following an ethics hearing in the Idaho House of Representatives over his conduct as a legislator. A 19-year-old intern on the legislative staff said von Ehlinger raped her by forcing her to perform oral sex. Two other female legislative staffers said von Ehlinger made them uncomfortable with unwanted advances.

Von Ehlinger has denied the accusation of rape, saying the sexual activity was consensual.


Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christine Lords for questions: info@idahocapitalsun.com. Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.

'I feel so helpless': Boise woman pleads for help evacuating family from Afghanistan

The withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan and subsequent takeover of the Taliban gives Boise resident Saida Razaee the worst form of déjà vu.

Razaee came to Boise in 2003 as a refugee from Afghanistan when she was 14 years old, after the first time the Taliban took control of the country in 1996.

This article was originally published at Idaho Capital Sun

“I came out on a day much like what you see now, in chaos," Razaee said. “The only difference was there were bullets and rockets flying over our heads."

Razaee graduated from Boise State University with a chemistry degree and became a process engineer for a local semiconductor company. Her parents and siblings also live in Idaho, but Razaee has extended family members in Afghanistan who have been unable to leave. She is in contact with her aunts and one uncle daily.

“My aunt's neighbor's house was actually taken over by the Taliban, and they turned it into a station, so (my aunt's family) is literally facing death every second," she said. “They can't even go into their own backyards because they're being watched."

President Joe Biden has stated the United States is determined to have all troops out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31. It is unknown what will happen with the Taliban after that date, which could complicate refugee efforts. There have been efforts underway to evacuate translators and other Afghans who assisted the U.S. Army over the course of the past 20 years, but Razaee said families like hers still matter in this process.

“Everywhere I go they say, 'Were they involved with the American Army?' and they weren't, so what do we do now?" Razaee said. “Do we just forget about them because they're not useful or something? Do we just kill them because they didn't work for the American Army?"

Idaho's senators work with staff, State Department to get people out

Razaee said she has filled out many forms with various agencies locally and nationally and attempted to contact Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo's office for help, but her efforts haven't resulted in action. Lindsay Nothern, Crapo's spokesman, told the Idaho Capital Sun they are receiving many constituent calls on the issue and working as quickly as they can.

“Our constituent services team is working timely and diligently to assist any Idahoans that contact Senator Crapo for assistance on a federal matter, including the ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan," Nothern said in a written statement. “We have received an influx of casework requests since late last week concerning this issue and remain committed to doing what we can to help those who have contacted us."

In a statement sent Wednesday evening, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said every Idahoan remaining in Afghanistan has now been evacuated. He praised the staff of the Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department and his Idaho office for working to save American lives.

“There are many more people who wish to leave Afghanistan, and I know there are Idahoans who have reached out to my office for evacuation assistance for their families and friends, in some cases," he said. “The (Biden) administration's arbitrary and rapidly approaching deadline is making it difficult to complete our mission, but we will continue to pursue these open cases and do all that we can to get these people out of there."

Slobodanka Hodzic, director of the Agency for New Americans organization in Boise, said she and her staff are working to sift through misinformation around the situation in Afghanistan to be able to help families as much as possible. There is a form on the U.S. Department of State website for a repatriation assistance request that Hodzic recommended for those seeking evacuation for family members.

“Everybody's worried the airport (in Kabul) will close, and relatives here want to help their relatives in Afghanistan to be able to leave, because there's so much unknown," Hodzic said. “… We pray and hope for people to be safe and for relatives to connect and be able to join. We are here to support and we are thankful to the community for its support."

Time is of the essence for family members, Boise woman says

Razaee and her family members are an ethnic minority of Afghanistan called Hazaras, who have historically been persecuted and victims of mass violence. Throughout the past 20 years, Razaee said more Hazara women have had access to education in Afghanistan, including her 21-year-old cousin Maryam Mehry, who is a journalist and women's rights advocate. That puts her at greater risk of being killed by the Taliban, Razaee said, despite the group's recent statements that it will respect women.

“Just to see that kind of talent and brain just go to complete waste, I feel so responsible, I feel so helpless," Razaee said. “I feel like I need to get her out, because if she dies, we don't have many of these kind of women in Afghanistan… there aren't that many, and we have to save every single one of them. We have to protect them with our lives."

According to the Idaho Office for Refugees, Idaho has accepted 844 refugees from Afghanistan since 2000. Razaee said if Idaho accepts her family as refugees, they would not be a burden on the state.

“In every form I've filled out, I have written that I will give these people basic necessities and housing until they are settled here. They're going to build a life for themselves, they're not going to become a burden," she said. “… We don't really need anybody's immediate help. We just need to get them out, and once they get here, we'll take care of them."

Above all, Razaee is calling for action at the state level from senators and anyone else who can help in some way.

“Please do something about this, because as we wait, more people are going to die," she said.


Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christine Lords for questions: info@idahocapitalsun.com. Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.

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