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Former Chair Of Montco GOP Charged With Drugging, Raping Co-Worker

By Brad Segall

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  This story has been superseded by later information.  Please see related story.]

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- The former chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party is under arrest, accused of drugging and raping a paralegal who worked at his North Wales law firm after a company party last month.

In its presentment, the grand jury says Robert Kerns plotted and planned to drug the victim to render her unconscious so he could sexually assault her.

They say he bought a bottle of wine from a restaurant and secretly dissolved the sleep drug Ambien in it.

Investigators say Kerns, 66, offered to drive the 51-year-old woman home after the October 25th party, then raped her in his car and again at her home.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman credits the victim for coming forward so quickly.

"The fact this was an employee led her to have trust in him. Getting into a car with her boss and having him drive her to a location was not something unusual and I think any one of us can understand that. She did not think there was any danger because this was a person she trusted."

In a grand jury presentment the paralegal says at first she feared reporting what Kerns had done to her.

"I was very concerned with Bob's status...and how I believe he will drag my name through the mud...I didn't know if I could go through with it...I felt I had an obligation to prevent others from having it happen to them."

"I give great credit to the victim in this case," Ferman said today. "She was extremely courageous in coming forward and sharing what happened to her, and she should be commended."

Kerns faces seven felonies including rape of an unconscious person, aggravated indecent assault and drug possession with intent to deliver.

Kerns' Defense Attorney says, "We look forward to challenging these accusations and defeating these accusations and having him acquitted in a courtroom."

Kerns resigned his position with the GOP when word of the investigation came to light.

Prosecutors fear since Kerns' alleged actions were so predatory, there may be other victims out there.

Kerns was scheduled to be arraigned later this afternoon at a district justice office.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  This story has been superseded by later information.  Please see related story.]

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