Alleged child abuser Malka Leifer extradited to Australia over sex charges

Former school principal Malka Leifer is on her way back to Australia from Israel to face child sex abuse charges in Melbourne.

Malka Leifer, a former Australian teacher accused of dozens of cases of sexual abuse of girls, arrives  at the District Court in Jerusalem in February 2019.

Malka Leifer, right, arrives at the District Court in Jerusalem in February 2019. Source: AFP

Alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer is on her way from Israel to Melbourne after a court ruled she should be extradited to face charges.

The former Melbourne school principal has been handed over to Australian authorities and is en route to Australia via Frankfurt on Monday, VoiCSA chief executive Manny Waks confirmed to AAP.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Ms Leifer left earlier in the day, just hours before the closure of Israel's airports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pictures published by local media show Ms Leifer about to board a flight surrounded by people wearing personal protective gear including masks and face shields.

She is expected to arrive later on Monday.

One of her alleged victims, Dassi Erlich, also tweeted on Monday that "Leifer is on the way back to Australia".

Ms Leifer is wanted in Australia on 74 charges of child rape and sexual abuse stemming from her time as principal at Melbourne's Orthodox Addas Israel School.

Mr Waks said it was unclear how long Ms Leifer's case would take to progress through Victoria's legal system given COVID-19 delays.

"We expect that Leifer's return to Australia will impact many people," he said in a statement.

"VoiCSA remains committed to helping anyone who may have been sexually abused by Leifer."

"The first point of interest will be to see who is appointed to represent Leifer. Will her supporters continue to raise enormous sums of money towards her defence and will some of those funds come from the Adass Israel community in Melbourne? Alternatively, will she rely on a public defender that will be offered to her?" Mr Waks asked. 

Israel's Supreme Court approved her extradition order in December and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn approved the order the following day.

Her final failed appeal followed 74 hearings in Israeli courts, which have been drawn out on the basis of Ms Leifer claiming mental illness.

Ms Leifer fled Australia to Israel in 2008 when the allegations arose, using a plane ticket allegedly paid for by the Addas School.

Ms Leifer was first arrested in Israel in 2014 and placed under house arrest, only to be let free again on the condition she undertook psychiatric assessments.

Following an independent undercover investigation that proved she was feigning mental illness and going about her life as normal, Ms Leifer was arrested again in 2018.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at BeyondBlue.org.au and lifeline.org.au.

Anyone seeking information or support relating to sexual abuse can contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380.


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Published 25 January 2021 at 6:36pm, updated 25 January 2021 at 8:21pm
Source: AAP - SBS

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