Top State GOP Official Accused of Drugging, Raping Coworker
The head of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania's third largest county was forced to resign earlier this month after allegations surfaced that he had drugged and raped a female coworker.
Formal charges were filed this week against Montgomery County Republican Committee's ex-chairman Robert J. Kerns, alleging that he served Ambien-laced wine to a woman who worked as a paralegal at his law firm and then raped her unconscious body.
According to the grand jury's report, Kerns and the 51-year-old victim attended a celebratory after-work party on October 25th.
Kerns then allegedly drove the drunk woman home, handing her a tainted, $68 bottle of Chardonnay on the way and waiting her to pass out.
"At some point between the time she drank the wine provided by Kerns and lost consciousness and the time she regained her memory as they entered her neighborhood, the victim has a vague memory of her head up against the car window and pushing Kerns away," said the report.
After "forcibly and violently violat[ing] her body" in the car, Kerns then reportedly took the woman inside the house, where he proceeded to rape her multiple times.
Montco District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman noted that "critical forensic evidence" was collected when the victim visited the hospital the following day.
She had apparently suffered severe genital injuries during the assault.
Kerns, who maintains his innocence, resigned his powerful post on November 14th — one day after the sex assault allegations first came to light.
He was arrested yesterday but was released shortly after posting $1 million bail.
All told, Kerns faces 19 counts, including rape of an unconscious victim, sexual assault, indecent assault, simple assault, tampering with evidence, and lying to authorities.
Kerns is a married father of three. He had been chairman of the MCRC for the past five years and active participant in local politics for the past thirty.
[screengrab via CBS Philly, mug shot via Montgomery County District Attorney]