Victorian ultra-Orthodox Jews funding fugitive accused molester principal Malka Leifer's life on the run
3 June 2016
MEMBERS of Victoria’s ultra orthodox Jewish community are helping fund fugitive principal Malka Leifer’s life on the run.
The mother of eight is in hiding in Israel while local authorities fight to have her returned to Australia to face allegations of serious child sexual abuse.
The Herald Sun can reveal a bank account linked to Ms Leifer is being topped up by Adass community members here.
Sources within the community say deposits are being made over the counter at a bank in Elsternwick.
They say they are outraged that some members of the community that helped Ms Leifer flee Australia are now supporting her while she evades justice.
Ms Leifer is accused of molesting 10 girls while principal of the ultra orthodox Jewish Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.
She is expected to be charged with 74 child sex offences if she ever returns to Melbourne.
She fled to Israel, with the help of school officials, after allegations were first levelled at her in 2008.
Ms Leifer has vigorously fought attempts for her extradition since 2014 and was last month found unfit to stand trial by an Israeli court.
She has refused to attend court hearings but has been kept in home detention in a secret location.
In the latest blow to local authorities, her home detention has been lifted and Leifer has been placed on a psychiatric treatment regime that could last 10 years.
Jerusalem District Court judge Amnon Cohen ruled that Leifer would receive outpatient treatment in Jerusalem.
Leifer’s treatment in a Jerusalem clinic is expected to begin next week and would last initially for six months.
She would receive up to five treatments during that time until a committee would assess whether she is fit to stand trial.
The court ruled this process could go on for up to 10 years.
Prosecutors have 72 hours to appeal Judge Cohen’s ruling.
If the committee continues to find she is unfit to stand trial she may avoid her extradition trial indefinitely.
A defiant Leifer has told family and friends she will never return to Melbourne.
Prominent victims’ advocate Manny Waks said Leifer’s alleged victims felt outraged.
“Outraged, devastated and completely let down by Israel’s legal system,” Mr Waks said.
“It seems obvious that if Leifer is so unwell that she can’t even attend court, she needs to be in a psychiatric ward.
“And when she’s well enough, she should be brought before the court to face the long-overdue extradition hearing.”
Last year the Supreme Court of Victoria awarded one of Leifer’s alleged victims $1 million in damages over the abuse.
Leifer did not contest the civil suit brought against her.
The windfall was believed to be the single biggest payout to a Victorian victim of child sexual abuse.
Former Supreme Court judge Justice Jack Rush today described Ms Leifer’s breach of trust as “monstrous” and ordered she personally pay $150,000 in damages to the former student.
“The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the conduct of Leifer was committed in circumstances of contumelious disregard of the plaintiff,” he said.
“I have described Leifer’s conduct previously as a massive breach of trust, yet this description does not adequately set out the destructive and evil nature of her sexual abuse of the plaintiff.
“The evidence discloses the sole motivation of Leifer in her dealings with the plaintiff was her own sexual gratification.
“Leifer used her position of power and authority within the school to manipulate the plaintiff’s sense of vulnerability.”
Originally published at Herald Sun.