Former ultra-Orthodox Jewish school principal Malka Leifer has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two former students. The victims, Elly Sapper and Dassi Erlich, who were pupils at Adass Israel School in Elsternwick, bravely spoke out about their traumatic experiences and the impact it had on their lives.
Leifer was found guilty of sexually assaulting and raping them between 2003 and 2007. While the sentencing recognizes the harm caused by Leifer, the sisters also emphasize the importance of survivor voices being heard and justice being served.
Sentence and Non-Parole Period: Malka Leifer’s sentencing came from County Court Judge Mark Gamble, who imposed a 15-year prison term with a non-parole period of 11½ years. Due to time already served, Leifer could be eligible for parole in less than six years. You may aslo read Tragedy Strikes Popular Biker Bar in Orange County: A Community Mourns.
The judge highlighted the vulnerability of the victims and condemned Leifer’s calculated exploitation of their vulnerabilities for her own sexual gratification.
Impact on Victims and Survivor Resilience
Nicole Meyer, the third sister who also alleged abuse, joined Sapper and Erlich to share their collective experience. Meyer spoke of breaking the silence in their community, fighting for justice for over a decade, and finally seeing Leifer held accountable.
Sapper noted that trauma from sexual abuse is enduring, but they were relieved that Leifer would be incarcerated and unable to harm others. Erlich emphasized the collective fight for justice, demonstrating that survivor voices cannot be silenced, no matter the challenges faced.
Leifer’s Actions and Exploitation
Malka Leifer, once respected within Melbourne’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, used her authority to sexually abuse two vulnerable students. The judge described her actions as “callous and predatory,” exploiting her victims’ vulnerabilities and manipulating their lack of understanding about sexual matters.
Leifer’s revered position at the school and the community enabled her to take advantage of the sisters’ troubled upbringing and sheltered lives. You should aslo check Doug Burgum’s Strategic Approach: Building Recognition in a Shifting Landscape.
Legal Proceedings and Acquitted Charges
Leifer was found guilty of 18 charges related to the abuse of Elly Sapper and Dassi Erlich between 2004 and 2007. She was, however, acquitted on 11 charges and cleared of all charges related to Nicole Meyer. The sentencing was solely based on the charges for which she was found guilty. The court’s decision not only reflects the crimes she committed but also the grooming and abuse she subjected her victims to.
Significance and Message to Survivors
The sentencing of Malka Leifer sends a powerful message to survivors and perpetrators alike. The journey to justice might be difficult and lengthy, but this case demonstrates that justice can prevail.
Manny Waks, the head of VoiCSA, an organization combating child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community, commended the sentencing as a deterrent to perpetrators and a validation for survivors. Additionally, he praised ongoing investigations into the school’s involvement in Leifer’s evasion of justice.
The sentencing of Malka Leifer to 15 years in prison marks a significant step toward justice for the victims of her abuse. The survivors’ resilience in the face of immense challenges, coupled with the legal system’s response, emphasizes the importance of holding perpetrators accountable and ensuring that survivor voices are heard and validated.