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Halle seeks dismissal of charges

William “Bill” Halle

Following testimony from the alleged victim, a judge on Tuesday said he would consider arguments from attorneys in the sexual assault case against William Halle.

Halle, 59, of Butler, is facing 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. Butler police filed the charges alleging he had a sexual relationship last year with a then-17-year-old girl who worked for the faith-based, nonprofit organization he ran. He is free on bail pending a trial.

The now-18-year-old woman testified she and Halle had a sexual relationship while she worked for him at the Net Cafe Center. She said she was the manager, and she mostly made coffee.

The cafe was connected to the Grace Youth and Family Foundation that Halle founded in Butler. Both are now closed.

She said she worked there beginning when she was 16 and worked evenings, sometimes without pay, to help the business because it was “falling apart.” She said she was paid in cash.

The woman said Halle bought her a small refrigerator that she could use to prepare meals to help her gain muscle and to thank her for doing work she didn’t get paid for. She said Halle sent her stepmother a text asking for permission to buy the refrigerator.

“I didn’t want the fridge, but he was being nice,” she said.

She said she was not enrolled in a fitness program at the center, but she took martial arts and kickboxing classes “until everything crumbled” including her life. She said she participated in the “battleground” program for free under the direction of Halle’s son.

She said her goal is to become a registered nurse and “spread the love of God.”

Tuesday’s hearing was held for Senior Judge William Shaffer to hear arguments for and against a lengthy habeas corpus petition filed on Halle’s behalf by his court-appointed attorney Joel L. Hills. The petition seeks dismissal of the charges.

Hills cross-examined the alleged victim, but made no additional arguments.

Shaffer instructed Assistant District Attorney Laura Pitchford to file a brief in 10 days, and gave Hills 10 days after Pitchford files her brief to file a response.

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