Law Firms

Law firm reconfigures after name partner is charged with rape

A prominent Pennyslvania attorney has left the law firm at which he had practiced for 39 years after being criminally charged in a rape case concerning a former firm employee.

Kerns, Pearlstine, Onorato, and Hladnik has now dissolved, and was reconfigured on Dec. 1 as Hladik, Onorato & Pearlstine, reports the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.

Robert Kerns, who is in his mid-sixties, was charged Nov. 25 in District Court with 19 counts, including six felonies. He is accused in a grand jury presentment of offering a middle-aged female employee a ride from an Oct. 25 work event at a restaurant to a shopping mall. En route, he allegedly gave her wine in which he had secretly put Ambien and then sexually assaulted her when she was incapacitated or unconscious, both in his car and at her home, reports Montgomery Life. The article relies on information from District Attorney Risa Ferman and a press release from her office.

Authorities said the woman vomited in Kerns’ car, and Ambien was later found in her blood, the Montgomery Life article reports. Authorities also said the case includes DNA evidence.

The articles don’t include any comment from Kerns or his counsel, but criminal defense attorney Brian McMonagle previously told the Associated Press that his client is innocent and he looks forward to defending Kerns in court, the Mercury reports.

After briefly being jailed, Kerns was released on $1 million bail, paying $100,000 of that amount. An earlier Mercury story provides additional details.

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