GoBookMe.com.au – Social worker in Malka Leifer case concerned about ‘pay-off’ to victims

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A social worker who spoke to several alleged victims has been quizzed about why she only gave a statement to police a decade after she was first asked.

A social worker was worried an alleged victim of Malka Leifer wanted a “possible pay-off” and feared she could be sued if she made a statement to police, a court has been told.

The 55-year-old former principal of ultra-orthodox Jewish Adass Israel School is facing 74 charges, including 11 counts of rape in relation to three sisters between 2004 and 2008.

She maintains her innocence and is fighting the charges but will be asked to enter a formal plea at the end of the committal proceedings.

Social worker Chana Rabinowitz worked with one of the alleged victims and gave evidence via videolink at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

Defence lawyer Ian Hill questioned the social worker about an email she sent to police in November 2011 after she was asked to give a statement.

In part of an email exchange read to the court, Ms Rabinowitz said she was told the sisters tried to get a grant for victims of sexual assault and was concerned about having to go on the record and testify.

“I have been warned that it is totally possible that she (the victim) can one day turn to me and decide to sue me for talking to the police.

“I guess I am a bit suspect when someone is in something for the possible pay-off then perhaps in the future they will think to get money from me as well if they could.”

The woman told the court she did not specifically remember writing the email but did remember corresponding with the officer.

However Ms Rabinowitz made a statement in April this year and found emails between herself and two of the alleged victims.

“They are somewhat graphic and emotional,” she said.

Another email was full of the victim’s “personal anguish”.

She told the court she lost notes she kept on her computer about the alleged victims but had been able to find the emails.

The sexual abuse charges relate to three sisters – Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer – who previously sought a court order so they could be named in proceedings.

All three women have finished giving evidence in closed court against their alleged abuser.

Ms Leifer left Australia for Israel in 2008 when the allegations emerged and was extradited back at the start of this year.

The hearing will continue on Thursday.

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