Oprah's School Leader: There Was No Cover-Up

11/08/2007 at 06:15 PM EST

Oprah's School Leader: There Was No Cover-Up
Oprah Winfrey
AP
L.N. Mzamane, the former headmistress of Oprah Winfrey's South African school, issued a statement Thursday, hitting back at allegations that she was aware of abuse allegedly committed by a dorm matron there.

"Contrary to reports, I had no knowledge of abuse," she said in a statement issued by her Philadelphia attorney, Timothy McGowan. "I did not and would never participate in any such cover up. As the head of the academy, my track record had been of one who acted decisively and in the best interests of the child where there was event a hint of inappropriate speech or action on campus."

On Monday, Winfrey announced she had not renewed Mzamane's contract at her Leadership Academy for Girls and had fired all the dorm matrons. That same day Virginia Makopo, 26, was charged with 13 counts of assault, indecent assault and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts.

Mzamane said she was "shocked and deeply saddened" when she heard about the abuse allegations at the academy.

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