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Female school principal in Australia convicted of rape and sexual abuse

Two students were sexually abused by the former principal of an Australian Jewish girls’ school.

Malka Leifer (56), was convicted of 18 charges, including rape, against sisters Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper.

They chose to identify themselves in media.

Nine charges against Leifer were dropped, five of which were related to Nicole Meyer’s sister.

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A court found that she had abused Ms Erlich, Ms Sapper and other students at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne between 2003 and 2007. This ultra-Orthodox school is located in Melbourne and was home to Ms Erlich as head of religion. She later became principal.

Justin Lewis, the Prosecutor, stated that Leifer had a tendency to take a sexual interest and exploit vulnerability of girls as teenagers and her ignorance in sexual matters.

After Leifer returned to Israel in 2008, the allegations were first made.

She was against extradition to Australia, but she was returned to Melbourne in 2021. She pleaded not guilty on all 27 charges.

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According to the court, the sisters were raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. They received no sexual education and had an isolated childhood.

Leifer began teaching at the school in 2001 when they were approximately 12-14 years old.

Nicole Meyer was allegedly abused by Leifer while they were sharing a bed at school camp. Ms Erlich pretended she was asleep in the same place.


Ms Erlich stated to the jury that she tried to establish a relationship with another teacher in order to inquire about Leifer’s activities, but Leifer discouraged her.

Leifer “told” me that it was not healthy for me to be connected with another teacher or to have more than one mentor, Ms Erlich testified.

Ms Meyer stated to reporters that a guilty verdict was all she had ever wanted.

She stated, “Since this battle began, since we gave out our police statements 2011 to hear the term ‘guilty’ it is what she has fought against not being for so long and what we have fought so many years for to prove.”

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