Legislator Censured for Naming Woman Who Claims She Was Raped by Another Legislator

Idaho state Representative Priscilla Giddings was removed from her seat on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee after publicizing the name of a 19-year-old intern who reported she was raped by another legislator.

Members of the Idaho House of Representatives voted 49-19 on Monday to remove Giddings, a Republican, for "conduct unbecoming a legislator." The committee also unanimously found that Giddings repeatedly lied and was disrespectful and combative with the ethics committee as they investigated the matter.

Giddings had shared links on social media to a far-right blog post of the legislative intern who reported that she was raped by one of Giddings' colleagues. The blog included the intern's name, photo and details about her life that Giddings shared with thousands of people in a newsletter and on social media.

On Monday, Giddings debated against being censured. Giddings said she shared the blog post that revealed the young woman's identity because she felt it was the only article that showed "both sides of the story" and that she wanted to support "due process" for Representative Aaron von Ehlinger, the man accused of raping the young intern.

"I would not have done anything differently. I think my intent was pure," Giddings said on Monday.

The intern subsequently faced extended harassment from supporters of von Ehilnger, a Republican, who was accused in the rape case. She had reported to the police and the legislative leaders that then-Representative von Ehlinger had raped her after they went out for dinner. Von Ehlinger denied any wrongdoing and said everything was consensual.

An ethics committee found he engaged in "conduct unbecoming" a lawmaker, and he resigned before the full House could vote on whether to remove him from office. Von Ehlinger was also criminally charged after pleading not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial next spring.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

State Rep. Priscilla Giddings
Idaho state Representative Priscilla Giddings was removed from her seat on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee after publicizing the name of a 19-year-old intern who reported she was raped by another legislator. Giddings, a Republican, glances up briefly as Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke prepares to start a reconvening of the Idaho House of Representatives, November 15 at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Associated Press

Giddings has repeatedly refused to respond to requests for comment from the Associated Press, and on Monday ignored an AP reporter who asked her to comment on the censure.

Representative Scott Syme, a Republican from Caldwell, said he saw what happened at the ethics committee, and it's clear that Giddings was evasive in her testimony.

"If you're not truthful, you're not truthful and that's really the crux of the issue here," he said.

In their report, the ethics committee said Giddings had a First Amendment right to post the link, but that didn't mean it was right to do so.

"Like all citizens, she is not free from the consequences of abusing, or imprudently exercising, that right in connection with a personnel matter," the ethics committee wrote in its report. "Exposing an alleged victim's personal information may be construed as retaliation, could lead to bullying, and can cause such a chilling effect that future victims do not come forward."