Criminal Justice

Prominent lawyer accused of assaulting employee after a night of drinking takes misdemeanor plea

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Initially accused of driving a law firm employee home after a work-related event and raping her, a prominent Pennsylvania attorney has taken a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor.

Because of a lab report misread by Montgomery County prosecutors, the case against Robert Kerns is now being pursued by the state attorney general’s office. Before his Monday plea, he had faced felony charges of aggravated indecent assault, but more serious charges were dismissed in June, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Under the plea deal, Kerns will get two years of probation and must register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Kerns is a former Republican party leader for the county and was a name partner in a local law firm before the criminal case was pursued against him last year.

He and his lawyer, Brian McMonagle, have insisted that Kerns is innocent, and McMonagle called the accusations against his client “false” after the plea, the newspaper reported.

The woman, who worked as a paralegal at a Lansdale law firm operated by Kerns, had accepted a ride from him after drinking at a work-related event. She said he gave her more alcohol in the car, and then assaulting her in the car and later at her home. She said she was unconscious during part of that time.

Related coverage: “Law firm reconfigures after name partner is charged with rape” “Prominent attorney now faces AG prosecution of rape case, after charges were dropped in March by DA” “Judge tosses rape charges against lawyer accused in paralegal assault; other counts remain”

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