South African police are investigating abuse allegations at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, the talk-show host's $40 million school for disadvantaged girls near Johannesburg.
Investigators would not say whether the allegations involve physical or sexual abuse, but said no charges have been filed. The academy's CEO, John Samuel, said in a statement earlier this month that an internal inquiry was launched based on a claim of misconduct involving a dormitory parent.
According to an article in The Cape Argus, a Cape Town newspaper, a student said a dorm parent grabbed her by the throat and threw her against a wall. Girls at the school also said the matron swore and screamed at the girls, assaulted them and fondled at least one of them, the newspaper reported Saturday.
The newspaper said one of the pupils ran away from the school, blaming the alleged abuse.
In an emergency meeting with pupils and parents at the school, Winfrey apologized in connection with the incident. "I've disappointed you. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she said tearfully, according to numerous South African media reports.
Even though she's not directly responsible, it's good that Oprah is stepping up and getting directly involved. While the crying isn't so great, she's providing a good example of the leadership mentioned in the school's name.