Idaho legislative intern reports rape, is ID’d by lawmaker

Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, right, a Republican from Lewiston, watches as members of the House ethics committee discuss whether he acted in a way that was "unbecoming" to his position in connection with rape allegations brought against him by a 19-year-old intern, during a hearing in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, April 29, 2021. The committee unanimously agreed on Thursday that von Ehlinger should be formally censured and suspended from his office, and that a new lawmaker should be appointed to serve in his place. The full House could vote on the matter as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)
Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, right, a Republican from Lewiston, watches as members of the House ethics committee discuss whether he acted in a way that was "unbecoming" to his position in connection with rape allegations brought against him by a 19-year-old intern, during a hearing in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, April 29, 2021. The committee unanimously agreed on Thursday that von Ehlinger should be formally censured and suspended from his office, and that a new lawmaker should be appointed to serve in his place. The full House could vote on the matter as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BOISE, Idaho – The harassment began soon after a report by a 19-year-old intern, who alleged an Idaho lawmaker raped her, became public.

One state representative sought a copy of the police report and made inquiries into how the young woman herself could be referred for criminal charges for reporting the alleged rape.

Another shared links to a far-right blog post that included the intern’s name, photo and personal details about her life with thousands of people in a newsletter and on social media.

And members of a far-right, anti-government activist group tried to follow and harass the young woman after she was called to testify in a legislative public ethics hearing.

“I can take criticism. I can take people laying out their opinion on me,” the intern told The Associated Press in a phone interview Sunday evening. “But this, it’s just overwhelming.”

The AP doesn’t name people who report sexual assault unless they agree to be publicly named. The intern asked to use the name “Jane Doe,” which is the name she testified under during a legislative ethics committee hearing last week.

The investigation into then-Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, a Republican from Lewiston, underscores why many alleged sex crimes go unreported.

While the #MeToo movement made it clear that sexual harassment and assault remains a widespread problem, survivors can face stigma and disbelief when they come forward.