Reprinted with permission from American Independent
Idaho state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, a Republican, faced renewed calls to resign on Monday following her decision to out an alleged rape victim.
In a Facebook post, the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic violence urged supporters to "demand accountability from Rep. Giddings" and to "ask her to resign."
The call echoes a recent demand for an investigation by the Idaho House Ethics Committee into Giddings' actions by the Idaho 97 Project, a state group focused on countering disinformation and extremism.
In March, an intern for then-Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger (R) alleged that he raped her in his apartment after they went to a restaurant. Von Ehlinger denied the claim. After an ethics committee looked into the allegation and determined that Von Ehlinger had engaged in "behavior unbecoming" and recommended he be suspended without pay, he resigned from the Idaho Legislature.
Before that happened, in a "legislative update" to constituents, Giddings attacked the alleged victim.
"The allegations are straight out of the liberal play book; they are a blatant liberal smear job," Giddings wrote. She also complained that "House leadership is using taxpayer funds to publicly embarrass Rep von Ehlinger."
The representative accused Republican leadership of "jumping on the liberal band wagon and using the flimsiest of pretexts to smear one of their own."
Giddings described the alleged assault as a "honey trap" and proceeded to link to a far-right blog that published the woman's name and photo.
In an interview with the Associated Press published on Monday, the woman, who was identified as "Jane Doe," described the right-wing attacks as "overwhelming."
She mentioned a photo that has been posted on right-wing websites like the one Giddings linked to.
"You know that photo everyone is posting? I'm 12 years old in that photo. I'm not even a teenager in that photo, and they're sharing it calling me nasty," she said,
She added, "I respected them [Republican lawmakers in the state] enough not to keep it a secret and they destroyed me."
Another Republican member of the Idaho Legislature, state Rep. Heather Scott, filed a public record request with Boise, Idaho, looking for a copy of the police report from the incident.
"Scott approached Rep. Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat from Boise, to ask about how a person who files a false police report alleging sexual assault could be charged," the Associated Press reported.
At an April 28 hearing of the ethics committee when Doe testified about Von Ehlinger's alleged actions, Giddings reportedly "scoffed and laughed at times" according to an Associated Press report, including when Doe's attorneys said the abuse she had suffered might discourage other women from coming forward about sexual assault in the future.
Right-wing supporters of Von Ehlinger swarmed around Doe after she testified, attempting to capture her image on video and in photos. One woman told the Associated Press she heard Doe screaming in the hallway during the hostile encounter, which led to Doe's lawyers shielding her from public view with umbrellas.
Giddings has further connections to right-wing extremism.
On Saturday, Giddings addressed the group North Idaho Freedom Fighters, telling them, "Patriotism is the fire that will unite us as we continue this fight for freedom."
In January the same group organized a protest against the results of the 2020 presidential election where attendees claimed the election was "fraudulent" and used the slogan "stop the steal."
The Spokesman-Review reported that members of the group "cheered" the attack on the U.S. Capitol and an announcement that "they're taking the Capitol and taking out Pence."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.