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Australian jury mulls verdicts in Israeli principal trial



MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian jury retired on Wednesday to contemplate their verdicts following the six-week trial of a former principal of a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox Jewish women college accused of molesting three sisters.

Malka Leifer, 56, has pleaded not responsible within the Victoria state County Courtroom to 27 sexual offenses that were allegedly committed on the Adass Israel College, the place she was head of faith and later principal, and at her Melbourne house and in school camps within the rural Victorian cities of Blampied and Rawson between 2003 and 2007.

Prosecutor Justin Lewis had requested the 12 jurors to contemplate that Leifer, a Tel Aviv-born mom of eight, confirmed sexual curiosity within the women once they had been teenage college students on the college and later once they turned pupil lecturers there. He alleged that Leifer engaged in sexual actions with them and took benefit of their vulnerability and ignorance in sexual issues, and her place of authority.

The sisters had an remoted upbringing within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood and obtained no sexual training, the court docket heard. They had been aged round 12, 14 and 16 when Leifer arrived on the college from Israel in 2001.

Lewis stated the sisters had offered specific proof that they didn’t perceive the sexual nature of what Leifer did to them. The abuse allegedly occurred in school camps and through personal classes on Sundays on the college and Leifer’s house.

Leifer allegedly abused the eldest sister whereas they shared a mattress at a faculty camp as the center sibling pretended to be asleep in the identical room. Jurors had been instructed the youngest sibling had walked right into a room whereas Leifer was abusing the oldest sister.

“Mrs. Leifer was probably the most revered individuals locally. If Mrs. Leifer was doing one thing then it have to be okay,” the youngest sibling testified about her response to what she noticed occurring to her sister.

The center sister instructed the jury she had tried to kind a relationship with one other instructor to ask about what Leifer was doing, however Leifer discouraged her. Leifer “instructed me it wasn’t wholesome for me to have a reference to one other instructor, to have multiple mentor,” the center sister testified.

The sisters gave proof over two weeks behind closed doorways, with the general public and media excluded in keeping with guidelines governing sexual assault trials in Victoria.

Different witnesses included these the sisters disclosed their allegations to.

The center sister first spoke to social employee Chana Rabinowitz in Israel in early 2008. Rabinowitz stated she requested the sister who harm her and the younger lady replied “it was Mrs. Leifer.”

Psychologist Vicki Gordon testified that she heard the youngest sister declare abuse by Leifer. Gordon instructed the court docket the sister claimed Leifer had defined the abuse was an try to beat a scarcity of heat and affection within the women’ household life.

Leifer’s lawyer Ian Hill instructed the jury the sisters had revered Leifer and writings from their college years confirmed them thanking her for being supportive. Hill stated the center sister’s story had modified a number of instances because the allegations had been made in 2008.

“Reality and reliability had been misplaced in false accounts,” Hill stated. “Maybe even at instances hardened into false imaginations and false reminiscences of false realities.”

He criticized the youngest sister for altering the placement of alleged incidents from the women’ hometown of Melbourne to Israel.

“It’s the unsuitable reminiscence mixed with the element that exhibits you simply how harmful some witnesses may be when recounting a story to you,” Hill stated.

She had initially confronted 29 fees. However two indecency fees relating to highschool play rehearsals had been dropped through the trial as a result of the incidents had been alleged to have occurred earlier than a related regulation got here into impact in 2006.


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