A woman accused of abusing teenagers at Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa was acquitted of the charges on Monday (October 11).
The daytime TV show host is “profoundly disappointed” by the trial’s outcome, especially because she’s had her own history of childhood sexual abuse.
Prosecutors accused former school matron Tiny Virginia Makopo of trying to kiss and fondle girls at the school soon after it opened in 2007 outside Johannesburg. At that time Oprah told press, “This has been one of the most devastating experiences, if not the most devastating experience, of my life. But like all such experiences there is much to be learned.”
Not having enough evidence to get a guilty verdict, prosecutor’s spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said, “The magistrate indicated that the state did not prove itself case beyond reasonable doubt on all the charges. We won’t be appealing the judgment.”
Of the outcome, Oprah told press in a statement, “I will forever be proud of the nine girls who testified with the courage and conviction to be heard.”
Earlier this year Oprah had to defend herself in court after the former headmistress of her girls’ school filed a lawsuit against her, alleging she had made defamatory remarks about her during the sex abuse scandal in 2007.
In March of 2009 the TV talk show host’s South African school was hit with a second scandal.
According to a report, a total of seven girls were suspended last week on charges that they sexually harassed their fellow schoolmates.
The report also said that several of the girls have been regularly “intimidating others into partaking of inappropriate behaviors,” and one 15-year-old tried to get her victims to lie to the school’s authorities about the incidents.
The school sent a letter to the student’s parents that read, “You have been found guilty of physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus and of being dishonest by not telling investigators the whole truth.”
©2010, GossipCenter.com. All Rights Reserved