Former Idaho Representative Aaron von Illinger has been found guilty of raping a legislative intern 2022-04-29 20:14:09

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Former Idaho Representative Aaron von Illinger was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern.

Former Idaho Representative Aaron von Illinger was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern.

Brian Merrick / Idaho Press

former state Representative Aaron von Illinger has been found guilty Friday of the rape of a legislative intern by a jury of 12 people afterwards 11 hours of deliberation over two days.

The jury’s decision came on the heels of an emotional three-day trial in which key testimony from the woman, now 20, was cut short and crossed from deliberations.

Can von Illinger Accused of two feloniesRape and forced penetration using a foreign body. The former intern, who was 19 at the time of the sexual assault, said he forced her into his apartment after dinner. The jury found him not guilty of forced penetration.

“The victims are believable,” Ada County District Attorney Jan Bennetts said at a news conference Friday, along with the prosecutors in charge of the case.

The 39-year-old has repeatedly denied the charges and asserted that he had consensual sex with the accused, identified by his initials JV, in court. Von Illinger, a resident of Julieta, Resigned from Idaho home Last year, just hours after the Legislative Ethics Committee unanimously recommended the Republican’s removal from his seat.

Von Ellinger’s attorney, John Cox, left quickly on Friday when asked by a member of the media for comment. Statesman’s efforts to reach Cox were unsuccessful.

Von Ehlinger could face anywhere from one year to life in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender. The verdict is scheduled to be pronounced at 9 am on July 28.

Arrest of former Idaho legislator, Aaron von Illinger.  jpg
Former Representative Aaron von Illinger was arrested Friday, April 29, 2022, and booked into Ada County Jail after being convicted of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern by a 12-person jury. James Dawson Boise State Public Radio

The former deputy was immediately taken into police custody on Friday and will be booked into the Ada County Jail.

‘I can’t do this’: the accused shortened his testimony

During the trial, the court heard the testimonies of more than six witnesses – the majority of whom were called by the prosecution – and testified about the sexual assault. This included a nurse who examined JV and two investigators who spoke to her.

The jury also heard von Illinger’s nearly two-hour testimony on Thursday, when he gave a different version of events on the night of March 9, 2021, when the rape occurred.

The jurors reached the verdict even though they could not use the main testimony from the accused. JV testified briefly on Wednesday, but abruptly left the position amid a description of sexual assault.

JV said von Illinger put his hand between her legs, and her legs closed, shortly before her testimony was shortened. Because von Illinger’s attorney was unable to cross-examine her, 4th District Court Judge Michael Reardon instructed the jury to strike out the testimony.

“I can’t do this,” JV said as she walked away from the witness stand.

Catelyn Margaret Farley, deputy attorney general for Ada County, said prosecutors prepared their case knowing how difficult it would be for the joint venture to enter the courtroom.

von ehlinger press conference
Ada County Prosecutors (left to right) Catelyn Margaret Farley, Jean Bennetts and Whitney Welch speak to the media after Aaron von Illinger’s conviction for rape Friday, April 29, 2022. Alex Brize Idaho Statesman

Legal system ‘shocks’ sexual assault survivors

Boise State University criminal justice professor Lisa Grout-Bostav told the Idaho statesman over the phone that recounting a sexual assault experience traumatizes survivors again. She said it is best practice for the police to limit the number of questions and the number of survivors Events must be recounted.

“You have to discuss something incredibly shocking and personal in front of strangers — when you probably don’t even want to tell your parents,” Bostav said. “There is insufficient willingness to predict whether the victim will be able to overcome that abnormal environment to provide an account of an unusually traumatic event.”

Sexual assault cases are also less likely to result in a conviction than other crimes.

Of the 217 rape cases reported in Ada County, only 13% resulted in an arrest, according to data from Idaho crime report. Two out of three cases of sexual assault have not been reported to police, according to the National Rape, Incest and Incest Network, or RAINN.

Ada County District Attorney Whitney Welch, a district attorney in the case against von Illinger, said it was critical to allow JV to determine if she was willing to testify.

“I think it’s important that you decide to walk into the room and you also decide to go outside,” Welch said at Friday’s press conference.

When asked by the statesman about the barriers that victims of sexual assault face throughout the legal system, Bennetts said raising awareness is key.

“It’s obviously one of the things where victims, you know, feel a lot of emotions and progress and what it’s going to be like for them,” Bennetts said. “You cover it up and raise awareness.”

Former country coverage

Former MP Aaron von Illinger, accused of rape, takes stand; The jury is deliberating

A former legislative intern testifies that Aaron von Illinger has been accused of rape

The former Idaho legislator was returning from Central America when he was arrested in Georgia

Idaho lawmaker accused of sexual assault resigns after ethics committee pushes to fire him

Idaho legislator accused of sexual misconduct, accused testifies on House Ethics Committee

Idaho legislator made other women ‘uncomfortable’, House Republicans told him to stop

This story was originally published April 29, 2022 1:29 pm.

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Alex Brize covers breaking news and crime for the Idaho statesman. A native of Miami, a graduate of the University of Idaho, she has lived all over the United States. Just go vandals! In her spare time, she loves Pad Thai, where she hugs her dog and cuddles with strong coffee.
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