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Halpern escapes charges on sex assault allegations

    The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has yet to say whether it is to reconvene a special rabbinic court to investigate the conduct of Rabbi Chaim Halpern following a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to charge him over allegations of sexual assualt.

    Rabbi Halpern, regarded as one of London’s most prominent strictly Orthodox rabbis and the son of UOHC president Rabbi Elchonon Halpern, was arrested in February on suspicion of assaulting women.

    But police said that a file passed to the CPS had “resulted in no charges being brought” and that all allegations had been “fully investigated” by its sexual offences unit.

    The UOHC instigated a special Beth Din, composed of two rabbis from Israel and one from New York, to investigate complaints against Rabbi Chaim Halpern’s behaviour in his counselling sessions for women. But its proceedings, begun at the end of January, were suspended followed his arrest.

    One UOHC source said that the future of the Beth Din had “as far as I know, not been discussed”.

    Aspecial Beth Din may investigate the rabbi’s conduct

    Rabbi David Cohn, of the North Hendon Adath Yisroel Synagogue, who has helped the Beth Din to collect evidence, supported its resumption. “My view is that I’d like to see it happen because I feel we need closure in this matter,” he said.

    His community quit the UOHC earlier this year over what it regarded as the Union’s delay in acting on complaints against Rabbi Halpern.

    David Sonn, Rabbi Halpern’s solicitor, said that the rabbi’s family did not wish to comment on the decision not to prosecute.

    Rabbi Halpern stepped down from his position on the rabbinate of the Union at the end of last year but has said that he was “innocent of all allegations”.

    He continues to be spiritual leader of the UOHC-affiliated Divrei Chaim synagogue in Golders Green, although some congregants left in the wake of the accusations made against him

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