Nicole Meyer fears her alleged childhood predator, arrested in Israel, could fight extradition.A former Melbourne school principal accused of child sex abuse has been arrested in Israel but her n accusers fear she could resist renewed extradition attempts.
Malka Leifer has avoided court over allegations linked to her time as head of Adass Israel School’s girls’ campus in Melbourne in the 2000s.
She fled to Israel after being accused of abuse, but was arrested by Israeli police on Monday for allegedly pretending to be mentally ill to avoid extradition to face 74 charges in .
The move brought hope for Leifer’s alleged victims in , including Nicole Meyer.
“There’s a chance she will continue to try to delay the steps of the extradition process and we just hope those appeals will not be granted, and with the evidence that’s been unearthed by the police force, she will be sent to as soon as possible,” Mrs Meyer told AAP on Tuesday.
Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter described the allegations levelled against Leifer as “abhorrent”.
“The n government has raised this matter with the Israeli government at the highest levels and will do everything it can to finalise the extradition process and bring Malka Leifer back to to face justice,” he said in a statement.
Mrs Meyer says Leifer began abusing her when she was a high school student and continued into adulthood.
Her sisters Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper have also accused their former teacher of abuse.
“The arrest means many things, starting with a humungous burst of hope after so many stagnant months of her continuing to be officially mentally unwell,” Mrs Meyer said.
Leifer, now in her 50s, was arrested after a month-long undercover investigation by Israeli police, stemming from an International Criminal Police Organisation request.
“During 2017, there were indications that the suspect was pretending to be suffering from mental illness in order to avoid the extradition process,” Israeli police said in a statement.
Mrs Meyer said Leifer would appear in court in Israel on Tuesday, accused of obstructing court proceedings and trying to hide evidence, before a second hearing the following day to renew extradition proceedings.
In 2016, an Israeli court halted proceedings to extradite Leifer after finding she was not fit to stand trial due to mental illness.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull both raised the case with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during visits last year.
Mrs Meyer also travelled with her sisters to Israel to campaign for their alleged abuser’s return to Melbourne.
“No one was suspicious because she had the gift of the gab,” the 32-year-old said of her teacher’s alleged offending.
“If any teacher had any concerns, who would they have gone to? She was (head of) the school.”
In a statement, Ms Erlich said she was elated and relieved at Leifer’s arrest.
“It is shocking that claims of fraud and the feigning of mental illness have been used to evade justice for such a long time, but we are relieved that Malka Leifer’s arrest removes her from posing a potential threat to other vulnerable children,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
Leifer taught at and was the principal of the Adass Israel School from the early 2000s until 2008.