Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Child Abuse at Oprah School?

Interesting how she hasn't mentioned any of this on her program, though she at least is taking the allegations seriously.
A take-charge Oprah Winfrey flew to South Africa twice in 10 days after her beloved $40 million "dream" school for underprivileged girls was rocked with shocking accusations of physical and, possibly, sexual abuse of students.

Winfrey canceled an Oct. 12 appearance at the American Cinematheque awards honoring Julia Roberts to meet with school officials and nervous parents.

She returned a second time over the weekend.

"Nothing is more serious or devastating to me than an allegation of misconduct by an adult against any girl at the academy," Winfrey said in a statement. She hasn't yet discussed the alleged incidents on her chat show.

Winfrey was alerted that a female school staffer allegedly grabbed a student by the throat and threw her against the wall and that the same "dorm matron" screamed at and assaulted her wards.

The unidentified woman allegedly fondled at least one of the girls, according to the Afrikaans-language newspaper Rapport. The staffer was fired, and no criminal charges have yet been filed.

Winfrey has hired a U.S. team of private investigators, led by a 30-year investigator of child exploitation at Chicago's Cook County Sheriff's Office, to work with South African police, her spokeswoman said.

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