Headmistress guilty of sexually abusing girls in Australian Jewish school
MELBOURNE - A former headmistress was on Monday found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls at an ultra-orthodox Jewish school in Australia, 15 years after she escaped arrest by fleeing to Israel.
A jury found Malka Leifer guilty on 18 charges, including rape, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a 16- or 17-year-old, but cleared her on nine other charges.
Leifer was the principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne when she was first accused in 2008 of sexually assaulting her female students.
A dual Israeli-Australian citizen, Leifer bolted to Israel before her arrest, sparking a drawn-out court battle spanning more than 70 extradition hearings.
The fugitive mother-of-eight was finally marched back to Australia in 2021, and was put on trial in February this year.
Leifer was living in Israel in 2001 when she was recruited to teach at the Adass Israel School, part of a reclusive Jewish sect on the city’s outskirts.
After a seven-week trial – and seven days of deliberations – the jury found Leifer guilty of sexually assaulting the two students between 2003 and 2007. - AFP