Danby supports arrest and extradition

May 8, 2015 Agencies
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Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper that an Israeli woman should face charges of child sex abuse whilst employed in Melbourne if allegations of her doing so were true.

Letters written by Danby supporting the issue of a working visa to Malka Leifer were tendered in the Supreme Court in Melbourne yesterday. The letters predated the Leifer’s employment.

Malka-290Danby told J-Wire: “In the year 2000, I was asked by the Adass School to help secure a visa for a female religious educator.  She successfully transferred to Australia with her husband and eight children, later that year.

Of course, 15 years ago at the time I wrote the letters, there was no hint of any of the kind of allegations that have been made against her now in the Victorian Supreme Court.

It is one of my central duties as an MP to support our local schools.  Including in recent years:

*       Successfully pressed for Glen Eira and Elwood Secondary Colleges special allocations under the BER

*       Three visits, at the beginning, half-point and end, of the rebuilding of 36 primary schools in Melbourne Ports. Each Ports BER was on or under-budget, and vital for our growing primary student population

*       Strongly supported the rebuilding of the now highly rated Albert Park College Secondary School

*       Intervened with then Education Minister Peter Garrett to allocate the former premises of Circus Oz in Port Melbourne to the separate campus of Year 9 of Albert Park College

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

*       Instrumental in legislating and implementing the Secure Schools Program that has fortified schools, particularly in the Jewish Sector under threat of extremist violence.

Finally, let me emphasise, child abuse is a pernicious evil. Anyone found responsible should face the full consequences of the law. 

As I would have expected – and I welcome – Adass has instigated reforms since these allegations have been made.

Leifer was appointed principal of the Adass Israel School in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick.

A former pupil of the school has brought a civil action against Leifer and the school claiming the school had been  negligent.

In pre-trial arguments, it was alleged that Mrs Leifer’s left the school when allegations were first raised in 2008 and returned almost immediately to Israel with her eight children.

According to the Herald Sun, the woman, now in her 20s, and two of her sisters told the court that “they were routinely abused at school, at her home and at school camps”.

The court was told that members of Adass had threatened the oldest of the three sisters with ostracism if the civil action was not dropped.

The paper reports that the claimant told the court: “They threatened her with her job and her reputation and her children’s marriage prospects.”

The court was told that when the alleged abuse was being perpetrated in Leifer’s home, the school principal would lock the doors as “she was very scared her husband would come home and find us there”.

The Supreme Court that the Internet, newspapers, TV and radio were out of bounds to the girls according to the ultra-orthodox beliefs of their community.

The Herald Sun also reports the court hearing that school officials failed to report the allegations to the police allowing Leifer to flee Australia,

 

 

Comments

3 Responses to “Danby supports arrest and extradition”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Nigel,
    Yes, I know Adass was aware of it and got rid of this woman quickly. That’s the point, they were aware of it. Being aware of it, they were accountable to report it. The fact Leifer made such swift departure back to Israel is telling, and implies possible guilt. Who knows why there was no official complaint? Possibly because of pressure put on individuals due to the importance of keeping the school’s reputation sacrosanct – that’s usually the reason. The word to single out here is ‘official’, isn’t it? Because with no complaint of any kind there would be no knowledge or awareness, and there was awareness. It’s difficult enough for victims of sexual abuse, or any kind of abuse, really, to speak out – that’s a psychological fact and the reason it often takes twenty years or more for complainants to make ‘official complaints’.

    I don’t know about ‘kudos to them for stopping it immediately’, when the action taken was to their own benefit. You do not appear to be taking into account the terrible effects of this kind of abuse on those who are made a victim of it. Stopping it quickly so that others might not be affected is one thing; ignoring the damage done already is quite another.

    The whole thing should be investigated thoroughly.

  2. Nigel Lejbovic says:

    Liat,

    Adass is only accountable for not having provided a safe environment. Which is serious, but they didn’t know of the alleged abuse. When they became aware they got rid of her despite not having any official complaint from a single alleged victim.

    So kudos to them for stopping it immediately.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    I remember reading about Leifer leaving the country quickly after these allegations. I read it in the Melbourne Age. The Adass School should be investigated and the civil action followed up. This woman should be brought back for questioning and be made accountable if the allegations prove to be correct.

    And the Adass School should also be made accountable in the same way others have been in the recent Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse.

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