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Halle seeks recognizance bail

Bill Halle

A county judge is considering a motion to release William “Bill” Halle from jail on recognizance bail while he awaits trial on charges alleging he had a sexual relationship last year with a 17-year-old girl who worked for the faith-based nonprofit organization he ran.

Halle and his attorney, Joel Lansing Hills, appeared Wednesday before Senior Judge William Shaffer for a hearing to argue for the motion to release Halle on his own recognizance with non-monetary conditions. He has been held in the county jail since October. His current bail is $250,000.

The district attorney’s office opposed the motion, and Shaffer hasn’t issued a ruling.

Halle, a former Butler Area school board member, was initially charged last year by Butler police with having an inappropriate relationship with the girl who worked the Net Cafe Center and participated in a training and nutrition program, which were parts of the now-closed Grace Youth and Family Foundation that he founded in Butler.

The charges were dismissed in January, but he was ordered to remain in jail to serve the balance of a six-month sentence for violating his parole by contacting the girl from the jail.

New charges were filed in March, and were held for court at a preliminary hearing in May. The charges are felonies sexual assault by a volunteer or employee of a nonprofit, corruption of minors, criminal use of a communication facility and criminal solicitation, and a misdemeanor count of corruption of minors.

In his motion, Hills argued that Halle has been incarcerated for well over six months in both cases combined, but hasn’t been convicted.

The current case contains allegations of two consensual sexual encounters between Halle and the girl, who is over the age of consent and was not produced as a witness at Halle’s hearing in May, according to the motion.

The motion argues that Halle has significant ties to the community, is in the midst of a federal bankruptcy proceeding, has no prior criminal record and is not a flight risk.

Finally, Hills argues that the current bond violates the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitution rights against excessive bond, and is “beyond excessive, retaliatory, and based in inappropriate justification and the clear expressed animus toward defendant by the lower court which set said bond.”

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