News Column

Former GOP Official Charged in Sex Assault Case

November 26, 2013

Tracy Jordan, The Morning Call

Nov. 26--A prominent Montgomery County lawyer who resigned as chairman of the county Republican Committee earlier this month has been charged with raping an unconscious or substantially impaired woman and possession of drugs, according to court records.

Robert J. Kerns, 66, of Upper Gwynedd Township near North Wales, was charged Tuesday with 19 counts, including seven felony offenses, related to the Oct. 25 incident, court records show.

Kerns resignation as county Republican Party chairman on Nov. 14 came amid speculation he was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault involving a female employee in his law firm, Kerns, Pearlstine, Onorato & Kladik in North Wales. The law firm specializes in mortgages, forelosures, bankruptcies, tax sales and municipal law.

The law firm's website has been taken down and is "currently under construction." Its Linked-In account says the law firm was established in 1972 and employs 11-50 people.

The charges filed against Kern on Tuesday include rape of an unconscious victim, rape of a substantially impaired person, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault without consent, aggravated indecent assault of an unconscious or unaware victim, aggravated indecent assault of an impaired person and possession with intent to manufactur or deliver drugs.

Details related to the charges were not immediately available.

Detectives from Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman's office investigated.

-- Tracy Jordan

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(c)2013 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

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Original headline: Rape and drug charges filed against lawyer and former GOP official in Montgomery County


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