"The defendant, Mr. Kerns, is the former chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party. . . . In light of the countywide political nature of Mr. Kerns' prior position, an out-of-county Common Pleas judge is requested," Furber wrote, according to the document.
Kerns resigned the chairmanship in November as word of the criminal investigation became public.
His case initially was assigned to Judge Robert Sobeck in District Curt, where criminal charges first are heard. Sobeck, a Republican, recused himself, and a different Chester County judge presided over the last District Court proceeding before sending the case on to County Court.
Gavin served on the Chester County bench for 25 years before retiring as a full-time judge in 2011. As a senior judge, he does not carry a full caseload and presides over cases as needed.
This will not be Gavin's only high-profile case.
He also is hearing the whistle-blower and defamation civil suit that Michael J. McQueary, a former Pennsylvania State University graduate assistant football coach, filed against his ex-employer in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
Gavin will be on the bench in Montgomery County in March for a hearing in Kerns' case.
Kerns, 66, was arrested in late November after being accused of drugging and raping a 52-year-old female employee of his former law firm. He has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts, including rape, sexual assault, and lying to authorities.
The North Wales resident posted part of his $1 million bail and was released after spending a night in jail.