A CIVIL case against Adass Israel School over allegations the plaintiff was sexually abused by its former principal Malka Leifer was settled hours before it was due to begin in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday.
In March this year, a jury in Leifer’s criminal trial in the County Court of Victoria found the former Adass principal guilty of six out of 11 charges of rape against sisters Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper, with guilty verdicts on 18 of the 27 charges against Leifer, including rape, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child aged 16 or 17.
However, the jury found her not guilty of all charges relating to a third complainant, Nicole Meyer, a sister of Erlich and Sapper. Leifer is awaiting sentencing.
The female plaintiff in the civil case, a former Adass student, named in the Supreme Court lists as “Jamie Hart”, a pseudonym, settled the claim amid reports that members of the Adass community were planning protests outside the claimant’s home.
“I am pleased to indicate that the parties have largely resolved the matter,” the plaintiff’s barrister said.
The court heard that under the terms agreed on, it is expected the school will pay the victim’s legal costs.
Had the case been heard, it would have brought fresh focus on the Adass school’s hiring of Leifer and its failure to stop her committing abuse.
Leifer, who was spirited out of Australia in 2008, was extradited to face criminal charges in 2021. Police investigating the role of Adass members who helped her return to Israel ended their probe in 2018 citing “insufficient evidence”.
Dassi Erlich posted, “Only two months post a guilty verdict and another brave survivor of Malka Leifer coming forward in the civil courts against the school, only to face increasing intimidation. So wrong. So so wrong.”