Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Malka Leifer seen on a screen via a video link during a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, July 20, 2020.

A jury in the County Court of Victoria on Monday found Haredi school principal Malka Leifer, 56, guilty of rape, indecent assault, and sexual penetration of a child as related to two sisters but cleared her of all charges related to a third sister. The trial lasted six weeks.

In 2021, thirteen years after the former Adass Israel school principal Malka Leifer from Melbourne fled from Australia to Israel, she was extradited to Australian authorities by the Israel Prison Service in a covert operation led by Interpol. Her extradition was made possible after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected her appeal and recommended she be handed over to the Australian authorities.


In 2007, Dassi Erlich, a young Israeli Olah from Australia, sought counseling for recurrent nightmares and anxiety over her experiences at the Adass Israel high school, allegedly at the hands of principal Leifer. In February 2008, Erlich’s therapist contacted a psychologist in Melbourne who contacted a teacher she knew at the school. They dug up allegations of “inappropriate conduct” by Leifer, and the Australian teacher phoned Erlich and heard her claims about Leifer’s sexual abuse, and concluded that “important boundaries had been crossed.”

The teacher then confronted Leifer who denied everything and told a meeting of the school board: “You have destroyed my reputation. I’m not going to stand for this.”

The jury was not told about Leifer’s escape to Israel.


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