Australian Ex-principal Malka Leifer to Stand Trial on 70 Child Abuse Charges

Leifer, whom Israel extradited to Australia in January, pleaded not guilty to all charges

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Australian Malka Leifer, right, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem, in 2018.
Australian Malka Leifer, right, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem, in 2018.Credit: Mahmoud Illean,AP

An Australian court ruled Malka Leifer, who is accused of sexually abusing three of her former students, will go on trial for 70 counts of sexual abuse, Australian media reported Thursday.

In a hearing at a Melbourne court, Leifer has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Originally, Leifer faced 74 charges, but four counts were withdrawn after it became clear to the prosecution that those counts involved alleged crimes committed in Israel, and not in Australia.

The first hearing in her case will be held on October 21.

In January, Israel extradited Leifer to Australia after a seven-year legal battle. In December 2020, the Supreme Court denied Leifer’s final appeal and approved the extradition.

Earlier this month and more than six years after police in Australia launched extradition proceedings to bring her back from Israel, Malka Leifer faced justice in a Melbourne court.

The former headmistress of Adass Israel School in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick faced 74 charges for the alleged sexual abuse of three former students between 2004 and 2008.

Yossi Goldfarb, president of the leading Zionist organization in the Australian state of Victoria, where Leifer taught, welcomed the announcement, saying it was "surely a difficult, but important day for the three courageous sisters who have led the vanguard to ensure that Ms Leifer is brought to justice in Victoria."

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