A lawmaker in Idaho has been accused of raping a 19-year-old intern in his apartment after they had dinner at a restaurant.
The investigation into Rep Aaron von Ehlinger started after the teen reported to authorities that he raped her in his flat after they had dinner at a restaurant in Boise.
However, he denies the allegations and maintains he had consensual sexual contact with the legislative intern.
The Boise Police Department is still investigating the claims but Von Ehlinger has decided to resign after an ethics committee recommended that he be suspended without payments during the legislative session and agreed that he engaged in ‘behavior unbecoming.’
In his letter, the Republican wrote that he hoped his decision to resign will spare his colleagues from having to deal with the recommendation of the ethics committee.
“After careful deliberation and prayer I have determined that I will not be able to effectively represent my constituents and… have decided to resign my seat effective immediately,” von Ehlinger wrote in his resignation letter.
“I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing of which I have been accused in this matter.”
The five-member ethics panel also recommended that he be held in contempt for refusing to answer some questions during his Wednesday testimony.
On the advice of his lawyer, von Ehlinger invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. However, Idaho law states that testimony given in a legislative ethics panel cannot be used in criminal court cases.
The committee said that the Fifth Amendment does not apply.
The teen who brought the allegations used the name Jane Done during the proceedings but at least one lawmaker has revealed her identity in a post on social media.
Rep. John McCrostie praised the young staff for coming forward.
“Sexual assault survivors are seldom subjected to having their testimony publicly broadcast. But she knew that her truth enabled others to not suffer as she has,” he said.
The lawyers representing the intern, Annie Hightower and Erika Birch, thanked the committee for recommending that the accused be censured and ‘taking the first steps to hold him accountable for raping a teen intern.’
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!