Sexual abuse trial begins for former ultra-Orthodox principal Malka Leifer

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Former ultra-Orthodox Jewish school principal Malka Leifer allegedly raped a former student and told her it would help her for her wedding night.

The 56-year-old former teacher and mother of eight is standing trial accused of sexually abusing Melbourne sisters Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper when they were her students, or young teachers, at the city’s Adass Israel School between 2003 and 2007.

Leifer, who was head of religious studies and later principal, has pleaded not guilty.The women, who are sisters now in their 30s, were raised in the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community in which young girls were not taught about sex until after they were engaged to be married, prosecutor Justin Lewis told Leifer’s County Court trial on Wednesday.

A jury of 15 – comprised of eight men and seven women – has been empanelled for the trial which could run for up to six weeks.
According to Erlich, family life was extremely contained to ensure they were not influenced by cultures of the world outside the community, Lewis said in his opening address.

They had no newspapers, television, radio or access to the internet at home, and only had books that had been vetted.Erlich had no significant interaction with males outside her family until she was introduced by a matchmaker to her future husband, he said.

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1 comment

  1. Much like the Roman Catholic Church, at times some leaders within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has ignored and/or covered up allegations of sexual abuse.

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