Court finds teacher wanted in Australia unfit for extradition

Malka Leifer, accused of fleeing to Israel to escape sexual assault charges, to be released from house arrest, sent for psychiatric treatment

Malka Leifer (YouTube screenshot)
Malka Leifer (YouTube screenshot)

An ultra-Orthodox woman wanted in Australia on sexual assault charges was released Thursday from house arrest and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment after being found unfit to stand trial in Australia.

Malka Leifer, the former principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, fled to Israel from Australia in 2008, days before allegations of sexual abuse against her surfaced.

The Jerusalem District Court Judge Amnon Cohen received a report from the district psychiatrist after multiple evaluations, which found that Leifer was mentally ill, The Age reported Friday. Cohen ruled that Leifer couldn’t face extradition to Australia, released her from house arrest and ordered psychiatric treatment in Jerusalem.

She was taken into custody in 2014 at the request of Australian authorities, but was later released to house arrest where she awaits extradition to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual abuse of girls at the school.

The Adass Israel School in Melbourne, Australia (screen capture: Google Maps)
The Adass Israel School in Melbourne, Australia (screen capture: Google Maps)

The Australian extradition requests were heard by Cohen, but there were no hearings in Leifer’s case due to stress-induced psychosis she claims prevents her from attending.

Mental health professionals, including the Jerusalem district psychiatrist, previously confirmed that Leifer’s panic attacks prior to her scheduled court appearances were genuine and said the proceedings of a court hearing put her under extreme anxiety.

In April, one of Leifer’s alleged victims sued the former principal in Victoria’s Supreme Court in Melbourne. It was launched by the sister of a victim of Leifer who was awarded $1.27 million by the court last year, the Australian reported.

The new lawsuit alleges that Leifer sexually abused the sister while she was a student and then a teacher at the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School.

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