MELBOURNE, Australia — Former Jewish girls school principal and now convicted sex offender Malka Leifer was ordered on Wednesday to appear in an Australian court in June for a two-day sentencing hearing.
A Victoria state County Court jury convicted the 56-year-old Israeli citizen and mother of eight early this month on 18 charges relating to the sexual abuse of sisters Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper when they were students and student teachers at Adass Israel School in Melbourne from 2003 until 2007.
Leifer faced a procedural hearing via a video link from prison on Wednesday during which Judge Mark Gamble set a timetable for her sentencing hearing on June 28-29.
Gamble said there were significant matters he wanted addressed by prosecutor Justin Lewis and Leifer’s lawyer Ian Hill in the hearing, including details of the time Leifer spent in police or correctional custody in Israel.
That includes time in “quasi-custody” such as home detention, Gamble said.
The convictions include rape, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child aged 16 or 17.
She was acquitted of nine charges, including all five involving the siblings’ older sister Nicole Meyer.
Abuse allegations were first raised with the Adass Israel School board in 2008 and Leifer was stood down.
Within days, she fled to Israel. She was charged in 2014 and spent years fighting extradition to Australia, which was granted in 2020. She left Israel in early 2021.
Meyer, Erlich and Sapper were in court for Wednesday’s brief hearing.
The Associated Press does not usually identify victims and alleged victims of sexual abuse, but the sisters have chosen to identify themselves in the media.
They said the verdicts marked a time to start looking forward.
“The sentence will protect her from hurting others, but she has been found guilty — the whole world will know that now,” Meyer told reporters.
Lawyers have until June 5 to file written submissions on sentencing.