Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Jessie J: Getting Back to Performing After Surgery 'Feels Great'
- Read the Cover Story: Inside Blake & Miranda's Shocking Split
- Your Cup of Coffee Needs a Cat Doughnut Right Meow
- WATCH: Little People, Big World's Zach Roloff Asks Brother Jeremy to Be His Best Man
- FROM EW: More Meryl Streep, Less Rick Springfield in the New Ricki and the Flash Trailer
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- November 19, 2007
- Vol. 68
- No. 21
Fighting for 'My Children'
As An Employee Is Charged with Abusing at Least Six Students at Her South African School, Oprah Winfrey Speaks Out About the "Devastating Experience"
Earlier, in a crowded courtroom 40 miles south of Johannesburg, the accused employee made her first public appearance. Tiny Virginia Makopo, 27, a former caretaker at the academy, was charged with 13 counts involving seven victims, including assault, soliciting a minor and verbal abuse. Prosecutors said at least six of the victims were students aged 13 to 15 years old. Makopo did not enter a formal plea but says she's not guilty. She was released on about $450 bail and her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.
In her press conference, Winfrey talked of the "devastation" she felt when she learned of the alleged abuse and detailed how she took action. On Oct. 6, she said, the school's CEO informed her that 15 students had a list of grievances, including suspecting one of their classmates had been sexually abused. Winfrey, herself a survivor of childhood abuse, immediately contacted South African police and hired an independent U.S. investigative team because, she said, "I know from my experience that no one ever abuses just one child." After Winfrey visited the 10-month-old school the next weekend, five other girls came forward. Winfrey, who said she "is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the [academy] is the safe, nurturing setting I imagined," dismissed all the dorm matrons, suspended the headmistress and met with students and parents.
Police say the abuse had been going on for about four months. Students had been "too scared to tell anyone," says the father of a girl who recently dropped out. "It's a good thing for this to come to light." Masechaba Hiine, the mother of a current student, gave Winfrey high marks for handling the situation: "She's doing everything for the children. We know Oprah will fix it."
- Reported by Stephanie Hanes/Johannesburg,
- Gretchen Wilson/Johannesburg,
- Marcelle Katz/Cape Town.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!