Malka Leifer ordered to stand trial on 70 charges of sexual abuse, rape

Alleged sex offender Malka Leifer was committed to stand trial after a judge found that there was enough evidence that a jury could find her guilty.

Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexually abusing students, walks in the corridor of the Jerusalem District Court accompanied by Israeli Prison Service guards, in Jerusalem (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexually abusing students, walks in the corridor of the Jerusalem District Court accompanied by Israeli Prison Service guards, in Jerusalem
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Alleged sex offender Malka Leifer was committed to stand trial on 70 charges of sexual abuse and rape by the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, after a judge found that there was enough evidence that a jury could find Leifer guilty, according to Australian media.

Leifer is accused of sexually abusing three of her students in the early 2000s and attempted to evade the legal consequences by fleeing to Israel in 2008. She was extradited to Australia after six years of legal battles.

The former principal had claimed mental illness since extradition proceedings were initiated in 2014. Last year, the Jerusalem District Court ruled she was fit for trial and then ordered her extradition.

The Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, rejected all of Leifer’s appeals.

After being arrested in 2014, she claimed mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia. The claim was eventually accepted by the Jerusalem District psychiatrist and the court, and legal proceedings against her were dropped.

Malka Leifer (credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)Malka Leifer (credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

But in 2018, Leifer was rearrested on suspicion of feigning mental illness to avoid extradition, and legal proceedings restarted.

United Torah Judaism MK and former health minister and housing minister Ya’acov Litzman is facing an indictment pending a personal hearing, on charges of witness tampering, fraud and breach of trust in connection with the case against Leifer.