JOHANNESBURG -- A woman accused of abusing teenagers at Oprah Winfrey's school for girls in South Africa was acquitted of the charges Monday, and Winfrey said she was "profoundly disappointed" by the trial's outcome.
Prosecutors had accused former school matron Tiny Virginia Makopo of trying to kiss and fondle girls at the school soon after it opened in 2007 outside Johannesburg.
Makopo also had been accused of assaulting one of the teens as well as a fellow supervisor.
Mthunzi Mhaga, a spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, said Monday that Makopo had been acquitted of the charges.
"The magistrate indicated that the state did not prove itself case beyond reasonable doubt on all the charges. We won't be appealing the judgment," Mhaga said.
Winfrey had called the allegations crushing given her own stated history of childhood sexual abuse and promised an overhaul of the school.
The lavish $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in January 2007, aims to give girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.
The school is spread across a 22-acre campus with neat lawns and garden paths decorated with mosaics. It has computer and science labs, a library and a wellness center. The school is home to about 300 girls from across the country.
In March, Winfrey had settled a defamation lawsuit filed in Philadelphia by the school's former headmistress, Nomvuyo Mzamane, who claimed Winfrey defamed her in remarks made in the wake of the 2007 sex-abuse scandal at the school.
Mzamane claimed that she was never told of any sexual abuse. However, Winfrey's lawyers said in a March pretrial memo that Mzamane failed to discipline Makopo despite her history of run-ins with students and fellow staff.
Mzamane said she had trouble finding a job after Winfrey stated she had "lost confidence" in her.
Lawyers for both sides in March said Winfrey and Mzamane met to resolve their differences out of court.
Notice two things from this story:
First, Oprah does NOT accept the court ruling.
As always, Oprah knows more than anybody else about stuff, including the magistrate and the prosecutor who is declining to retry the case.
Perhaps Oprah's right and nine girls under her care were raped and abused by somebody Oprah hired at her school.
But you can see the pattern with Oprah when it comes to this kind of thing - she has unique otherworldly insight that tells her the woman is guilty even though the court says not beyond a reasonable doubt she isn't.
Next, notice how Oprah opened her big mouth about the school's headmistress, but then had that mouth shut when the woman hit her with a defamation lawsuit.
Oprah settled the defamation suit out of court in March.
But that certainly hasn't stopped Oprah from talking shit.
She's been defaming teachers for the last month.
Maybe we should file a defamation lawsuit against her too.