A tearful Oprah Winfrey apologized today to students and parents amid abuse allegations at her exclusive $40 million South African school for girls, the Independent reports. "I've disappointed you. I'm so sorry," the talk show host said. A school matron stands accused of grabbing one girl by the throat and fondling another, while Winfrey suspended the principal for failing to respond.
Winfrey's boarding school for underprivileged girls was intended as a model for the world, but the claims of abuse have led to soul-searching and recriminations. The allegations surfaced after one student ran away and told her family the situation had become intolerable. Winfrey has given the alleged victims her personal phone number and e-mail.