Alleged child sex offender Malka Leifer released to house arrest

JERUSALEM (JTA) —  Alleged child sex offender Malka Leifer will be released to house arrest while a new panel of psychiatric experts evaluates whether she is mentally fit to face extradition and trial, the Jerusalem District Court ruled.

The prosecution has until Friday to appeal the house arrest. The court ordered the new evaluation last month.

Leifer, 52, fled to Israel from Australia in 2008 amid allegations that she had sexually abused students at the Adass Yisroel school in Melbourne. She is wanted in Australia on 74 charges of child sexual abuse.

Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2014.

Leifer was arrested in Israel in 2014 and then released after being deemed mentally unfit for the legal proceedings. She was rearrested last year after an undercover investigation found that she lived a normal life and was mentally fit to face extradition proceedings.

The most recent psychiatric report had found Leifer mentally fit to remain in prison and attend extradition hearings. Evaluations in 2016 and 2014, however, had found her too unstable to be deported.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is facing accusations that he attempted to illegally intervene on Leifer’s behalf. Litzman is accused of pressuring the Jerusalem district psychiatrist into falsely stating that Leifer is mentally unfit to be extradited and stand trial.