Ex-GOP Chairman Robert Kerns Drugged, Raped Employee, Pennsylvania DA Says

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The former chairman of the Republican Party in Montgomery County, Pa., was arrested Tuesday on charges of drugging and raping a female employee from his law firm.

Robert J. Kerns, 66, was chairman of the GOP from 2008 until Nov. 15, when he resigned over the sexual assault investigation.

Kerns surrendered to police Tuesday and was charged with 19 felony and misdemeanor criminal counts, including felony rape of an unconscious victim, possession of a controlled substance, and tampering with evidence.

The alleged assault took place on Oct. 25, after Kerns attended a work party at a restaurant in Whitpain, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Ferman says Kerns offered the victim a ride to King of Prussia and encouraged her to drink from a bottle of wine that he had laced with Ambien.

When the victim lost consciousness, Kerns allegedly raped and sexually abused her in his car. The victim received severe injuries genitally and on other part of her body.

The victim regained consciousness as Kerns neared her home. She says she remembers him taking her upstairs in her home and laying her on a bed. He allegedly removed her clothing against her will and sexually assaulted her again before leaving.



The victim’s urine later tested positive for Ambien, Ferman said.

"I give great credit to the victim in this case," Ferman said. "She was extremely courageous in coming forward."

"I didn't know if I could go through it. I didn't know if I could put my family through it," the victim told county detectives, according to the grand jury report. "I am worried I could go through the whole process and he could just walk away. I felt I had an obligation to protect others from having it happen to them."

Kerns has denied the allegations.

"It's a very sad day," former County Commissioner James R. Matthews told Philadelphia Inquirer. "I've known Bob for a very long time, and it's a sad time for his family and his firm ... and the alleged victim."

Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, Perkiomen Valley Patch