Cops Probe Body of Dead Newborn Found at Oprah Winfrey's School

Police reportedly investigating a dead newborn found at the school

ByABC News
February 18, 2011, 1:04 PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa Feb. 18, 2011— -- Oprah Winfrey's school for girls in South Africa is being rocked by a fresh scandal as police investigate the body of a newborn found in one of the student's bags, police said today.

The baby's body was found last Wednesday in a bag the 17-year-old girl brought to a hospital where she was being treated for excessive bleeding, police Lt. Col. Lungelo Dlamini told ABC News in a statement.

It is believed that the girl, who has not been identified, gave birth at her school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which is located outside Johannesburg.

No charges have been filed against the girl and police will discuss the case with the Director for Public Prosecutions once the investigation has been finalized.

Police Capt. Shado Mashobane confirmed to local newspapers that the girl is still recovering in the hospital.

A spokesperson for Winfrey's academy in Chicago told ABC News that it would not comment on the incident because a minor is involved.

Winfrey's leadership academy has had problems in the past. Shortly after the all-girls high school opened in 2007, a school matron, Virginia Tiny Makopo, was charged with sexually molesting several girls. At the time Winfrey flew to South Africa to offer a personal apology to the students and their parents, citing her own experience with sexual abuse.

She also fired the school's headmistress, Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane.

"Nothing is more serious or devastating to me than an allegation of misconduct by an adult against any girl at the academy," Winfrey said in a statement at the time. "I will do everything within my power to ensure their safety and well-being."

Makopo was acquitted of the charges last October, an action which "profoundly disappointed" Winfrey, she said.

"I will forever be proud of the nine girls who testified with the courage and conviction to be heard," said Winfrey in a statement.

Winfrey was later sued by Mzamane for defamation and the suit was settled out of court. The terms of the settlement were not revealed.