Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger is expected to serve up to two decades in prison for rape. According to court documents obtained by several media outlets, the 40-year-old Idaho lawmaker was convicted of the criminal rape of a teenage intern in April and was given a sentence totaling 20 years in state prison.
During von Ehlinger’s sentencing hearing, Judge Michael Reardon ruled that the defendant would be eligible for parole after serving at least eight years behind bars, per reports from Associated Press. A judge imposed a no-contact order on the defendant, which is expected to extend until 2055, as well as registering him as an offender.
The sentencing occurs nearly one year after he stepped down from his seat in the House of Representatives following a recommendation by an ethics committee that he be barred from the statehouse. There was no empathy or remorse on von Ehlinger’s part, the judge said. It was obvious that he was unwilling to engage in offender treatment. Reardon claimed that the sentence would discourage von Ehlinger from perpetrating any further crimes during his incarceration, at the very least, said NBC News.
“You have a pattern of explaining, excusing, deflecting and blaming others for the circumstances you find yourself in,” Reardon said. “You see yourself as a victim and you see yourself as a hero, and frankly I don’t see you as either one of those things,” he allegedly continued.
A 19-year-old intern accused the Republican politician of rape after he assaulted her in his apartment after having dinner together the month before. After leaving office after 10 months on the job, Von Ehlinger made sure to deny the accusation in his resignation letter.
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The woman was not identified in this case by the Associated Press at her request. They refer to victims of s-xual assault as “Jane Doe.” Doe attended the sentencing hearing, and the prosecutor played a recording of her voice discussing the trauma she endured after the rape.
Doe detailed in the recording how her autonomy has been “violently ripped away.” Hearing von Ehlinger’s name sometimes causes her to suffer panic attacks, she added, and security systems and cameras have been installed outside her house. Following reports of the rape, von Ehlinger’s supporters made public Doe’s name, picture and personal details about her life and harassed her on several occasions.
A lawyer for Von Ehlinger, Jon Cox, stated in court that his client “is not a deviant monster who preys on immature and unsuspecting girls,” adding, “He doesn’t lay out in the bushes waiting for young girls to walk by so he can forcibly rape them,” KTVB reported.
“This is not a picture of a monster. This is a military man who provided service to our country,” Cox allegedly said of Von Ehlinger, that he served in the U.S. Army and was sent to Afghanistan. Among the 26 letters of support Von Ehlinger received, one was from his ex-wife and Idaho Republican state representative Vito Barbeiri, according to the Statesman and KTVB.