Charges dropped against fmr. Montgomery County GOP leader

Charges were dropped against the fmr. Montco GOP chairman who had been accused of sexually assaulting a female employee.
March 17, 2014 8:34:21 PM PDT
Charges have been dropped against the former chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee who had been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a female employee.

Prosecutors announced the withdrawal of charges during a court hearing for Robert Kerns on Monday.

"I would like to thank my family and friends who've stood with me in this. No other comment," said Kerns.

With that Kern's exited and his attorney explained the case and how it unraveled when defense experts noticed key evidence did not exist.

Most specifically, it was a test for a date rape drug. The results, he says, were misinterpreted by the district attorney's office.

"There was no drugs found whatsoever no trace of drugs found whatsoever. This was simply a case of someone misreading a report," said Brian McMonagle, defense attorney.

"We found that members of my staff had misinterpreted the lab results," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman. The original allegation was that Kerns had given the alleged victim, a one-time co-worker at his law firm, wine laced with Ambian and then sexually assaulted her.

With no evidence of the Ambian in her system, the district attorney pulled the case.

The mistake was embarrassing for the district attorney's office, especially with the attention that the case garnered. Jack McMahon is a former prosecutor and a high profile defense attorney.

"It's an incredibly huge screw-up. It's kind of irresponsible to go forward and make that kind of mistake in front of a grand jury," said McMahon.

So will Kerns be recharged without the drug issue?

Ferman said given the mistake by her staff she is asking Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to decide.

"The best path towards justice for this case and for the victim is to ask the attorney general's office to take it," said Ferman.

The charges dropped 'without prejudice,' which means that is more evidence is found Kerns could be re-charged.

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