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BOISE, Idaho – A former Idaho lawmaker was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he was convicted earlier this year of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern.

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According to The Associated Press, Aaron von Ehlinger was convicted of felony rape in April about a year after he resigned from his House of Representatives seat following an ethics committee recommendation that he be banned from the statehouse.

The investigation into this case began in March 2021 when an intern told a statehouse supervisor that “the Republican from Lewiston raped her at his apartment after the two had dinner at a Boise restaurant,” according to the AP. Von Ehlinger believed that the sex between the two was consensual.

He tried to remind the judge that he used to be a paratrooper in the war in Afghanistan, and that he was trained to protect people — especially women. Von Ehlinger also tried to explain his innocence in this matter, according to the AP. The judge said that von Ehlinger had a lack of empathy for the victim and “had a propensity to blame her,” according to the AP.

Idaho 4th District Judge Michael Reardon said on Wednesday during the hearing that von Ehlinger must serve at least eight years of his sentence before he can be eligible for parole, according to the AP.

The judge also ordered von Ehlinger to register as a sex offender, said the AP. Von Ehlinger was also placed under a no-contact order through 2055.