NORRISTOWN The preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday on rape charges against ex-Montgomery County Republican leader Robert J. Kerns has been postponed.

Court records show that the hearing in front of District Judge Robert M. Sobeck has been moved to Dec. 16. The document did not specify a judge for the new date. Such a postponement is not uncommon.

Brian J. McMonagle, Kerns' attorney, had no comment on the postponement. Officials from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office could not be reached.

Kerns, a 66-year-old North Wales resident, was arrested Nov. 26 and charged with 19 criminal counts involving an October incident in which the district attorney's office alleges he drugged and raped a woman who worked at his Lansdale law firm.

He was released from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility Nov. 27 after posting $100,000 cash - 10 percent of his $1 million bail.

- Carolyn Davis