Former Idaho Representative Aaron Von Illinger has been found guilty of raping an intern 2022-04-30 06:13:00

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A former Idaho legislator was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislature intern after a dramatic trial in which the young woman fled the witness stand while testifying, saying “I can’t do that.” According to the intern, who is referred to as “Jane DooAt her request, Aaron von Illinger, 39, raped her in his apartment after the two had dinner at the Boys Restaurant in March 2021.

Von Illinger was a state representative from Lewiston, but later Resigned. He sat quietly while reading the verdict, as he had done throughout the trial. Von Illinger spoke calmly with his lawyer, who removed items from his pockets where his hands had been tied and placed him in remand.

Next, Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Reardon told the jury, “This has been an unusual case that has seen many unexpected circumstances, but I appreciate your concern…and your hard work.”

Idaho rape trial law
Aaron von Ellinger in court on April 27, 2022, in Boise, Idaho.

Brian Merrick/The Idaho Press-Tribune via AP


Du described Friday hesitantly the moments when the alleged attack began, before abruptly leaving the witness stand.

“He tried to put his fingers between my legs and my knees closed,” Doe said. At that time, I stood up. “I can’t do this,” she said as she quickly walked out of the courtroom.

The judge gave prosecutors 10 minutes to find her to determine if she would return and resume her testimony.

And when she didn’t, the judge told the jurors they had to “whip (Doo’s testimony) out of your mind as if it never happened,” because the defense couldn’t cross-examine her.

During his testimony on Thursday, von Illinger often spoke loudly and clearly directly to the jury, saying that he and Doe had decided to go back to his apartment to “hang out” after dining at a fancy restaurant from Boise. Then they started sitting on the sofa, he said.

“Things were going well,” said von Illinger, “and I asked (Doe) if she’d like to move into the bedroom.” “Sure she said. We got up, clasped our hands, and went into the bedroom.”

He insisted that sex was consensual.

The deliberations lasted seven hours until about 8 p.m. Thursday before the jury decided to rest for the night. At one point, the judge summoned the attorneys to his room because the jury had asked a question. No details of the jury’s investigation have been made public.

When the allegations became public – in large part due to a legislative ethics investigation – Doe faced relentless harassment from some von Illinger supporters. Her name, photo, and details of her personal life were repeatedly publicized in “investigation” incidents.

One of the people who repeatedly harassed her was in the courtroom to attend the trial, but law enforcement authorities prevented the man from going up to the floor where the case is being heard.

During closing arguments, Ada County Deputy District Attorney Catelyn Farley told jurors that the case was about “power in the wrong hands” used in Doe’s “great devastation.” Farley said von Illinger wielded social, political, and physical power over the young apprentice.

“He used this force to rape and forcibly penetrate her,” Farley said, referring to von Illinger. Doe resisted in a number of ways, she said, highlighting the testimony of law enforcement investigators and the sexual assault nurse who interrogated Doe after the alleged assault.

“Words show disapproval. Excuses ‘why this shouldn’t happen,’” Farley said, ‘show disapproval. Pulling your head back and hitting shows disapproval.’

But John Cox, von Illinger’s defense attorney, told jurors that the prosecution’s case consisted of a “red herring,” and said von Illinger was a credible person who took the stand willingly to share his side of the story.

Earlier this week, jurors heard from investigators and a nurse who had given a rape test. They testified that Doe reported her suspension while von Illinger forced her to perform oral sex, and that she knew he often carried a gun and placed it on a wardrobe near the bed at the time of the assault. A nurse also testified that Doe had a “goose egg” on the back of her head as a result of it hitting a wall or headboard while trying to shake her head out of Von Illinger’s grasp.

Von Illinger’s sentencing date has been set for 28 July.

In the United States, assistance is available to survivors of sexual violence and their families. RAINN offers resources at 1-800-656-HOPE and on their website, www.rainn.org

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