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Ex-Montco GOP Chairman Kerns Arrested on Rape, Sex Assault Charges by PA Attorney General

Tony Di Domizio

Friday, April 25, 2014 • 11:25am

A month after the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office dropped rape charges against former Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Robert Kerns, the Pennsylvania Attorney General has arrested him on rape and sexual assault charges.

According to the Attorney General's Office, Kerns, 66, of 23 North Lane, North Wales Borough, was arrested Friday and is charged with rape, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of indecent assault, one count of sexual assault and one count of simple assault.

In March, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office dropped rape charges because investigators made an error in its toxicology reports.

Kerns was charged with drugging a former paralegal last year with Ambien and then raping her after a party.

Two toxicologists viewed the alleged victim's labwork and found no drug in her system, reported Fox 29.

Fox 29 reported Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said the labwork was reviewed again and that her team made a mistake.

"I want to thank my attorney, Brian McMonagle. He did an incredibly good job," Kerns said during a press conference in Norristown in March after the charges were dropped.

The Times Herald reported the charges were dropped without prejudice, which meant Kerns can be re-charged with rape, as the case was in the hands of the state Attorney General. And that is exactly what happened

Area attorney Marc Steinberg told WNPV 1440AM that DNA evidence is not needed to prosecute such a case; it would be an oath-on-oath case.

After his November arrest, it was revealed that a grand jury investigation found Kerns' alleged actions "manipulative" and "predatory" in the alleged events that occurred the night of Oct. 21, 2013, according to the affidavit.

Police said Kerns provided a DNA sample in the investigation, which ended up matching DNA found in the alleged victim's underwear and pants. His car, police allege, contained a hidden stash in the trunk. In this stash, there were a few items, including pink duct tape and alcohol.

The alleged victim, who worked at Kerns' former law firm in Upper Gwynedd, told police that Kerns had allegedly drugged her champagne with Ambien, which they consumed as Kerns drove to a political event in King of Prussia, police said. Kerns is accused of sexually assaulting the woman in his Mercedes and later inside her Telford home, police said.

According to the PA Attorney General, Kerns held a celebratory gathering at a Blue Bell restaurant and offered to drive the alleged victim to the King of Prussia Mall because she had been drinking. The victim, whose husband was away on business, stated that she was capable of walking on her own, but did not want to risk driving and therefore accepted Kerns' offer.

Authorities said Kerns drove the alleged victim to the mall, where he allegedly engaged in sex and penetration of the woman's genitals while she was unconscious. Kerns allegedly forced himself on the woman with so much force that she was bleeding in her genitals, even days after the alleged assault, police said. There were also bruises and fingerprint indentations on the woman's thighs, police said, scratch marks on her left thigh, scratches and marks on her right thigh, vaginal soreness and pain in her spine between the shoulder blades. 

Authorities said the assault allegedly continued at the woman's Telford home, where Kerns allegedly engaged in sexual acts without the victim's consent or knowledge.

On the morning of Oct. 26, 2013, the woman awoke to find vomit on her clothes, police said. Her underwear and pants were missing, police said.

The case will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye of the Office of Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Section.

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