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Australia: former school principal extradited from Israel appears for rape, sexual assault

2021-09-16T09:59:53.275Z

Ultra-Orthodox Jew refugee in sectarian settlement in the West Bank, Malka Leifer is accused of abusing at least eight children between



Australian justice has been looking since Monday on a minority in the land of horror, female pedophilia.

The former headmistress of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school accused of child crime is appearing in Australian courts for a preliminary hearing for her possible trial.

Malka Leifer has dual Australian and Israeli nationality, she was extradited in January from Israel to Australia. She denies the 74 charges against her, 11 rapes, 47 indecent assault, three sexual penetrations on a child and 13 indecent acts on a child, which were allegedly committed between 2004 and 2008 against eight children while she was a religious studies teacher and principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne.

Three of his alleged victims are sisters.

If they have testified behind closed doors since Monday, Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper have themselves publicly revealed their identity and publicized their fight to obtain the extradition of Leifer.

Malka Leifer fled Australia in 2008 after Dassi Erlich filed a complaint against her.

She settled with her eight children and her rabbi husband in the Emmanuel colony in the West Bank, a poor Haredim community where the separation between men and women is essential on a daily basis ”.

200 hours of video recordings

Australian authorities requested her extradition in 2014, two years after her indictment, and it took six years of legal battles in Israel, until the Supreme Court, to conclude that the former headmistress was feigning mental illness in order to 'escape Australian justice. She had been incarcerated in Israel since 2018, after private detectives had demonstrated, through 200 hours of video recordings, that the woman was leading a perfectly normal life, far removed from the psychiatric torments she claimed to be going through.

Asked by videoconference from the Dame Phyllis Frost Center, the high security prison for women in the state of Victoria, Malka Leifer only replied that "yes, yes" she heard the proceedings. His lawyer, Tony Hargreaves, told the court he would cross-examine victims "with the greatest possible care." "The relationship that the three complainants had with their parents, in particular their mother, would seem to be the genesis of the relationship between the accused and the complainants," he said in court.

Before embarking on a campaign to obtain the extradition of the principal, Dassi Erlich had sued the Adass Israel school in civil proceedings. She had described how the total sexual ignorance of the children of the ultra-Orthodox community had been exploited to her detriment by Leifer to abuse her, until high school, and even after, when the young woman had obtained a job within the establishment. . The Supreme Court of Victoria awarded him 1.27 million Australian dollars in damages (approximately 790,000 euros). Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer have reached an out-of-court settlement.

The case could also bounce back in Israel: last May, Israel's attorney general announced his intention to prosecute former Israeli health minister Yaakov Litzman. He is suspected of having pressured doctors to falsify the teacher's psychiatric assessments and prevent her extradition. Litzman is a follower of the same Hasidic community as Leifer.

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2021-09-16

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