Senior Philadelphia judge appointed to Robert Kerns case

Former Montgomery County GOP Chairman Robert Kerns arrives at district Judge Sobeck’s court for arraignment on rape and other related charges Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. (Photo by Gene Walsh/21st Century Media)

NORRISTOWN — Senior Philadelphia Judge John Braxton has been appointed to preside over the attorney general’s case against the former head of the Montgomery County Republican Party, according to online court documents.

Braxton is a retired judge who worked on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas until he retired in 1995.

Online court documents show that Robert Kerns will be in court for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 23 at 9 a.m.

Kerns, 66, of North Wales, is accused of sexually assaulting a former employee after a work event in October 2013 and is facing multiple counts of aggravated assault and indecent assault. The main charges — rape of an unconscious person and sexual assault — were dismissed by a visiting district judge after a preliminary hearing in June. This will be the second time Kerns goes through a pre-trial conference. Kerns was arrested in November 2013 by Montgomery County detectives following a grand jury investigation. Those charges were dismissed by the district attorney’s office in March after defense attorney Brian McMonagle discovered that a lab test was not read correctly. The lab test indicated the victim had less than 5 Ambien in her system at the time of the alleged rape; however, less than five on the test does not mean more than zero.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office announced shortly afterward it would re-open the case. The attorney general’s office announced in April it would be filing charges against Kerns.