Idaho intern faced “overwhelming” hassle after reporting rape


Boise, Idaho (AP) — Harassment began the moment a 19-year-old intern reported being raped by a member of the Idaho Legislature.

A state representative asked for a copy of her police report and asked how a young woman would be introduced from a criminal accusation for reporting rape charges. Another shared link to the far right blog post containing the intern’s name, photo and personal details about her life with thousands of people in newsletters and social media. Members of a group of far-right rebel activists pursued and attempted to harass young women after being called to testify at a legislative hearing.

“I can be criticized. The intern told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Sunday evening.” But this is just overwhelming. “

The Associated Press will not appoint people to report sexual assault unless they agree to be publicly nominated. The intern in this case asked to use the name “Jane Do”, which she testified at a hearing of the Legislative Ethics Committee last week.

Survey of the person in charge at that time. Lewiston Republican Aaron von Ehringer emphasizes why so many sex crimes have not been reported. The #MeToo movement has revealed that sexual harassment and assault are still widespread issues, but survivors can face stigma and mistrust when they come forward. Today, three-quarters of sexual assaults have not been reported. Rape and Incest National Network, And data from the US Department of Justice and Statistics, one-fifth of survivors of sexual violence who chose not to report crimes to police cited fear of retaliation as the main reason.

The investigation began in March after the intern reported raping her in an apartment after going to a restaurant in Boise. Von Elinger denies all cheating and claims to have consensual sex. The Boise Police Department is under investigation.

The Legislative Ethics Commission unanimously voted last week that he was engaged in “not impersonating” lawmakers. Von Elinger resigned before Full House voted to dismiss him.

Still, the harassment that Doe is facing has not stopped. The far-right members are still attacking, and some have called her despised names and posted pictures of her.

“Do you know the photo everyone is posting? In that photo I’m 12 years old. I’m not even a teenager in that photo, and they share it and call me awkward “I will,” Doe said. “But the truth cannot be changed.”

Doe started working at the Idaho Legislature Building a year ago and supported the legislative committee under the High School “Page” program of the Legislature. She returned this year as an intern, hoping to prepare for her future career in government. She said she agreed to von Elinger’s dinner invitation because she wanted to network and was excited to go to a restaurant that was much higher than she could pay with a salary close to the minimum wage. I did.

After dinner, von Elinger said he had forgotten something, so he took her back to the apartment instead of the car. Upon getting there, Doe fixed her and forced her to have oral sex, despite the fact that she froze by saying “no” in some way. She said Doe was petite and von Elinger was bigger.

“He has a collection of guns. Fighting or fleeing was never an option,” she said.

On rape charges, Doe tried to focus on other things.

“His curtain was bright red, so I stuck to his curtain. It was as bright as the striped flag, so I named it” American Red “in my head,” she said. .. “I was staring at it … I will never forget how disgusting I was.”

She reported the incident two days later. Then there was a forensic examination, a report to the Attorney General of Idaho, and an interview with the Ethics Commission.

The Commission finally announced that a hearing would be held on this issue and announced Doe’s complaint on April 16.

Within hours, von Ellinger supporters began to publicize Doe’s identity. One of his lawyers published a letter to the media containing Doe’s real name. Two far-right websites posted Doe’s name and details of her life, one including her photo.

“I respected them enough not to keep it secret,” Doe said of a fellow member of the von Eringer, “and they destroyed me.”

Whitebird Republican Rep. Priscilla Guidings shared a link to Doe’s name and photo to members in a newsletter, stating that the allegations were nothing more than a “liberal slanderous job.” She also shared blog posts with thousands of followers on social media to publicize her intern’s identity. Giddings is not responding to repeated requests for comments from the AP.

Republican Rep. Heather Scott of Blanchard has submitted a public record request to the city of Boise for a copy of a young woman’s police report. Scott asked Boise Democrat Melissa Wintrow about how a person who filed a false police report alleging sexual assault could be prosecuted. Wintrow is a member of the board of directors Idaho Union Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Represents Jane Doe.

Scott refused to answer the question from the AP and sent one comment in a short email.

“I don’t think you have your facts straight,” Scott wrote on April 27.

Doe was unaware that his identity had been revealed until the next shift at the State Capitol. Immediately she could say that she felt different around her.

“The secretary let me know that Giddings did it and showed me the article, and my life was crashing in front of me,” Doe said.

She continued to appear for work — partly because the Ethics Commission told her she needed to be available, she said. But she felt like she was under a magnifying glass. A lawyer at the Attorney General’s office asked her about her move around the State Capitol. When she tried to ask the governor for a photo-she wanted to collect one photo each year she served in the Capitol building-the staff said she just wanted to complain.

“No one had the humanity to see me, as I was ashamed,” she said. “They pretended that everything I did was suspicious.”

Being called to publicly testify at an ethics hearing exacerbated the pain. She had already testified privately, but was stopped when members of the committee began the difficult process of explaining allegations of rape that could offend both Doe and the committee. It was.

“I was very angry with it,” Doe said.

During the hearing, Doe was protected from public visibility and the Commission warned everyone that her identity should be kept private. When Doe left the hearing, some spectators there in support of von Elinger rushed out to film her.

Karen Smith, a Boise resident, is a former state legislator intern who attended an ethics hearing to assist Doe and heard the intern screaming in the hallway after she was arrested.

“I thought,’Oh, someone might need to go to help,'” Smith said.

When Smith found the group, Doe was curled up on a ball on the floor as her legal team tried to protect her with an umbrella. The spectator was approaching the young woman, taking a videotape of her and trying to take a picture.

Smith and another tried to prevent spectators from approaching Doe, she said.

“There were eight police officers, state police, who were watching and doing nothing. They said,” We are not allowed to stand by. ” So we kept it, “Smith said.

Ethical investigations were not criminal investigations, but criminal trials provide some guidance for situations where emotions are expected to rise, said former US prosecutor Wendy Olson. It was.

“We need to predict what the risks are to this person,” Olson said in a telephone interview last week, including dedicated doorways for witnesses and warning people not to retaliate in any way. We have taken the measures.

“The court has always made it clear that one of the worst things you can do to harass or intimidate Witnesses,” Olson said.

Rape, harassment, and hearing allegations all revealed one thing, Doe said. She won’t stop fighting until she confirms that the State Capitol is implementing policies to prevent others from experiencing the same pain she suffered.

“Everything was pushed against me against my will after repeatedly trying’no’,” she said. “But I’m regaining my voice. It’s mine, not theirs.”

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