Rape charges dropped against Kerns, again

ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Kerns after November arrest.
ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Kerns after November arrest.
Posted: June 20, 2014

FOR THE second time, the former head of the Republican Party in Montgomery County is off the hook for rape charges, but is headed to trial on allegations that he indecently assaulted a woman subordinate in October after a political soiree.

Robert J. Kerns, 66, appeared in a District Court in Blue Bell yesterday for his preliminary hearing, where District Judge Joann L. Teyral ordered him to stand trial on three counts of indecent assault, two counts of aggravated indecent assault and one count of simple assault.

The case now lies in the hands of the state Attorney General's Office, after it was punted by the Montgomery County district attorney, following a conflict. Prosecutors say that Kerns forced himself on a woman one drunken night and that the alleged victim is prepared to testify at trial.

"I'm very pleased with the court's ruling," Deputy Attorney General Daniel J. Dye said. "It allows us to take the strongest charges and put them in front of a jury. The judge made a determination based on the sufficiency of the evidence, but it doesn't impact our prosecution at all."

Kern's lawyer maintained his client's innocence and applauded the judge's decision to drop the rape charges.

"This judge came to the inescapable conclusion that there was no rape, no evidence of sexual assault," defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said.

"As we've said from the beginning, there was never a crime committed here. There's no question the parties were together that night. There's no question that these were two people who had their worlds collide one evening.

"Now, we begin the second step of this, which is to go to trial and make sure that Bob has restored to him his good name."

The aggravated indecent assault charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The other charges are misdemeanors.

No trial date has been set. Kerns remains free on bail.


On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

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