Second lawsuit against Leifer
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Second lawsuit against Leifer

FORMER head teacher of Melbourne’s Adass Israel School Malka Leifer (pictured) is facing a second lawsuit relating to child sex abuse.

Malka Leifer.
Malka Leifer.

FORMER head teacher of Melbourne’s Adass Israel School Malka Leifer is facing a second lawsuit relating to child sex abuse.

Melbourne lawyer Nick Mazzeo confirmed to The AJN this week that his legal firm Lennon Mazzeo will represent the unnamed client, who is believed to be a former student of the ultra-Orthodox Melbourne school.

Meanwhile, Leifer, who was spirited away to Israel in 2008 by the school’s committee following reports about her molesting students, has already had major civil damages awarded against her in a lawsuit by another former Adass student, the current plaintiff’s sister. The names of both plaintiffs have been suppressed.

In Israel, a court case over an Australian application to extradite Leifer to face 74 criminal charges in Victoria is underway, with lawyers for Leifer claiming the mother of eight is too stressed to be extradited.

An Israeli judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Leifer amid accusations she is faking her condition as a stalling tactic.

On September 16 last year, the Supreme Court of Victoria awarded almost $1.3 million in damages to the initial plaintiff, who was a student at the school when Leifer was employed there and was sexually assaulted by her on numerous occasions between 2003 and 2006.

In his judgment, Justice Jack Rush condemned “the destructive and evil nature of [Leifer’s] sexual abuse of the plaintiff over a period of years” and said the Adass School showed “disgraceful, contumelious behaviour demonstrating a complete disregard of Leifer’s victims of which the plaintiff was one. The conduct demonstrates a disdain for due process of criminal investigation in this state.”

The judge ordered the Adass School to pay the plaintiff $1,024,428 in compensation for her past and ongoing suffering. In a further order, he awarded another $250,000 in exemplary damages to deter future offenders – $150,000 of which was awarded against Leifer, and $100,000 against the school. This brought the total damages payout to more than $1,274,000.

PETER KOHN

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