Former school principal convicted of sexually assaulting female students

Malka Leifer, a former religion teacher and principal at Adas Israel School in Melbourne, was found guilty in April of 18 counts, including raping a student at her home and raping her sister. He was acquitted of the third sister’s rape case.

Melbourne judge Mark Gamble sentenced him to 15 years in prison on Thursday, saying his “insidious crime” scarred the two sisters for life.

He said Ms Leifer was a ‘serious sex offender’ who showed ‘extreme disregard’ for her victims.

Ms Leifer, a mother of eight, fled to Israel in 2008 when rumors of her crimes began to spread. Holding dual Israeli and Australian citizenship, more than 70 spectators fought tooth and nail to prevent his deportation. to Australia in 2021.

As they left court, two sisters, Tassie Ehrlich and Ellie Sapper, praised the judge’s decision for “breaking down the walls of silence” in Melbourne’s ultra-orthodox community.

“We’re here today because we never gave up,” Ehrlich said. “This fight has never been about us. We are showing that the voices of survivors cannot be silenced or stifled, no matter the obstacles.”

“To anyone who has survived such a nightmare, you are not alone, we are all behind you,” he added.

Dressed in a light blue prisoner’s uniform, Ms Leifer remained motionless as she heard the sentence via video link from Melbourne jail.

The facts took place from 2004 to 2007, when Mrs. Leifer was in charge of the school, which was ultra-Orthodox, and the two sisters were teenagers.

According to the indictment, Ms. Leifer sexually assaulted a student in 2006 after inviting her to sleep over for “calla lessons,” a type of premarital etiquette class. According to the prosecutor, he told students on several occasions that he was preparing to become a wife.

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“This will help you on your wedding night,” he told a student after she was sexually assaulted.

“It was a life where Jewish laws and customs were very important and strictly observed,” Judge Gamble said.

According to the magistrate, this suffocating environment and Leifer’s reputation in the Adas community made it extremely difficult for victims to come forward.

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