- Malka Leifer faced trial over sexual abuse of teenage girls allegedly perpetrated when she was a school principal.
- In April, she was found guilty of 18 of 27 charges relating to the abuse of two sisters.
- Before the case went to court, authorities spent more than a decade trying to extradite her from Israel.
All three sisters were in the Victorian County Court on Thursday when Judge Mark Gamble handed down his sentence and ordered Leifer to serve at least 11.5 years in prison.
Malke Leifer was found guilty of abusing Melbourne sisters Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper, and was acquitted of abusing their older sister Nicole Meyer. Source: AAP / James Ross
Leifer cried as her sentence was handed down.
In an hours-long sentencing hearing, Gamble detailed the grooming and abuse inflicted upon the sisters, who had a difficult home life.
“They were completely innocent victims of the predatory behaviour of Mrs Leifer and it is she and she alone who should feel guilty,” the judge said.
Who is Malka Leifer?
The allegations date back to a period when the sisters were students and junior religious studies teachers at Adass Israel School between 2003 and 2007.
The judicial process to have Malka Leifer extradited to Australia was drawn out, with progress slow due to complications with ongoing appeals. Source: AAP / Mahmoud Illean
Leifer, 56, not only denied guilt throughout the trial but when complaints initially arose in 2008, she fled the country.
After being pursued by the Australian and Israeli justice systems, Leifer spent years challenging her extradition back to Australia to face pending charges.
The Addas Israel School
It’s been alleged she fled using a plane ticket paid for by the Addas School. It’s recently been reported that Victoria Police has reopened an investigation into the conduct of those at the Elsternwick school at the time.
The Adass Israel school in Elsternwick where Malka Leifer was principal. Source: Getty / Darrian Traynor
The school is part of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel Jewish community in Melbourne.
The conservative society was understood to have its own shops, schools, butcher, baker, synagogue, cemetery, and even its own ambulance service.
Extraditing Malka Leifer to Australia
However, following an independent undercover investigation that proved she was feigning mental illness and going about her life as normal, Leifer was arrested again in 2018.
Melbourne sisters Elly Sapper, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyers travelled to Jerusalem to attend court where Malka Leifer’s possible extradition was being considered. Source: AAP / Abir Sultan
Since that time, Leifer has been bailed and re-imprisoned a number of times across a drawn-out appeals process.
Her final failed appeal took place in December 2020, at which point, Israel’s justice minister finally approved her extradition.
In January 2021, more than a decade after fleeing to Israel, Leifer was extradited to Australia.
Malka Leifer on trial in Australia
She was acquitted of two charges during proceedings as it was found the relevant legislation had not been in place during the alleged offending.
Anyone seeking information or support relating to sexual abuse can contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/former-school-principal-malka-leifer-sentenced-to-15-years-in-jail-for-sexual-abuse/mzdj034zh Former school principal Malka Leifer sentenced to 15 years in jail for sexual abuse