Oprah's Leadership Academy at Center of Sex Abuse Scandal | NBC New York

Oprah's Leadership Academy at Center of Sex Abuse Scandal

School matron accused of sexually assaulting students

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    Former Oprah Winfrey school matron Virginia Tiny Mokgobo stands in the accused dock on April 25, 2008 at the Magistrate's court in Sebokeng south west of Johannesburg.

    Probably the saddest thing about the sex scandal involving allegations of abuse of teenage girls at Oprah Winfrey's South African school for girls is the shrugs of indifference it elicits from that country's citizens.

    The trial has raised few eyebrows in South Africa despite the fame of the $40 million institution's benefactor. The Daily Beast reports that the general level of horrific violence, often sexual, perpetrated against young women is so high that the non-lethal abuse of teenagers at a posh boarding school barely warrants the attention of South Africans, who seem mostly eager to put the issue behind them.

    When she founded the South AfricanOprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls a sex scandal involving a faculty member and underage girls was likely the last thing the Chicago media mogul was anticipating.

    Tiny Makopo, 28, is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting six young girls while she was a dormitory matron at the school. Makopo is pleading not guilty to the shocking charges that include forcing herself sexually on teenage girls and choking one by pressing her thumbs on the girl's windpipe.

    Oprah and personnel at her company have declined to comment to The Daily Beast, an online news publication that wrote about the trial, citing court requests for no publicity until the trial concludes.