Oprah Winfrey found herself "in an unusual position--on stage, alone, answering not asking questions," observed CBS' Dean Reynolds. All three networks assigned a reporter to cover her press conference about the alleged abuse of boarding school students at the Leadership Academy for Girls she founded in South Africa. "Devastating," she called it. ABC sent David Muir (subscription required) to Soweto for A Closer Look as a dormitory matron pled not guilty to charges of assault and sexual abuse. The daytime television talkshow host, who had "spoken of the sexual abuse she endured as a child" had taken "great strides to protect the children from outsiders," Muir pointed out. That insulation was so strict, CBS' Reynolds noted, that parents complained that their daughters "were being treated like virtual prisoners, permitted little or no means to communicate beyond its walls." The upshot was that complaints of abuse against an employee went unheard. NBC's Ron Allen repeated Winfrey's own reminder: most abused children "are victims of people they know and trust."
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