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Oprah Winfrey Academy abuse scandal, South African police make arrest.

Last Updated: 11/3/2007 8:45:13 AM

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An employee of the Oprah Winfrey’s Academy for Girls in South Africa has been arrested by Guateng police over accusations of indecent assault.....

Oprah Winfrey Academy, arrest made.
Oprah Winfrey Academy, arrest made.

The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit of the Guateng Police have made an arrest in connection with allegations of physical and verbal abuse and sexual molestation at Oprah Winfrey’s Academy for Girls.

The police arrested Tina Makopo who worked as a Matron at the institution over the abuse allegations that have plagued the 300 million rand (US$ 45 million) institution since its grand opening in January this year.

In a statement issued yesterday a Guateng police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said the 27-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday by the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit on several charges of abuse.

"Several charges including alleged assault, indecent assault, crimen injuria and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts are being investigated against her." Dlamini said at least seven victims had already submitted statements.

Oprah had flown to South Africa to facilitate the investigations and authorities have publicly thanked her for her assistance in achieving a speedy resolution of the matter.

Oprah had set up the institution after Nelson Mandela asked her to give support for educational causes in post-Apartheid South Africa. The institution boasts state-of-the-art computer and science laboratories, a theatre, library, gymnasium, health centre, sports fields and beauty salon. To qualify for a place, the girls have to show academic and leadership potential and have a household income of less than US$800 a month.

The Oprah Winfrey’s Academy for Girls located at Henley-on-Klip on the outskirts of Johannesburg.


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