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    Arrest Made in Oprah Abuse Scandal

    Oprah Winfrey's justice has proven swift.

    Two weeks after the talk-show maven hightailed it to her eponymous Leadership Academy for Girls amid accusations of employee abuse toward students, a former dormitory matron at the  school has been formally arrested by South African police.

    Police Superintendent Lunge Dlamini said that a 27-year-old woman, who had been working in the residence halls of the all-girl school, was arrested Thursday after seven students submitted statements alleging assault and various abuse at the hands of the employee.

    "Several charges including alleged assault, indecent assault, criminal injury and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts are being investigated against her," Dlamini said in a statement.

    Police did not release her name.

    The woman, who was collared by the department's Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit, is being held in police custody and is expected to appear in Sebokeng Magistrate's Court, just outside Johannesburg, on Monday. Winfrey's academy is located near the capital, in Henley-on-Klip.

    "I'd like to thank the South African Police Services for bringing this investigation at my Academy to a timely resolution," Winfrey said in a statement Friday. "I am grateful for their compassion and sensitivity to the girls during this difficult time. It means the world to me."

    "It is my deepest hope that the accused is brought to justice and that this serves as a reminder that any time a child has the courage to step forward, it is our duty as adults to listen and take immediate action."

    The arrest is the latest chapter in school sex-abuse saga. Winfrey immediately fired the woman and suspended the school's principal with pay to ensure an impartial investigation.

    "Nothing is more serious or devastating to me than an allegation of misconduct by an adult against any girl at the academy," Winfrey said last month, when the accusations first surfaced.

    The allegations surfaced only after one of the pupils ran away from the school, apparently because she could no longer tolerate the abuse.

    According to reports, the dorm patron had been accused of fondling one girl and being physically and verbally abusive to several others, including grabbing them around the neck, beating them and hurling them against a wall.

    Winfrey cleared her calendar, including a scheduled appearance at an American Cinematheque tribute to pal Julia Roberts, to deal with the crisis.

    The talk-show host, who personally selected all the students for the $46 million state-of-the-art school when it opened in January, twice visited the campus in the wake of the scandal and even brought in U.S. investigators to help South African authorities. The detectives turned over their findings to the police within the past week.

    On her second trip to the school this week, the 53-year-old, who has always been forthcoming about her own past sexual abuse, met with parents of the school children and made a teary, emotional apology for the serious transgressions that had occurred under her watch.

    "I've disappointed you," she said during the emergency meeting. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

    Winfrey has subsequently given students, whom she refers to as "my daughters," her private phone number, email and snail-mail address so that they can contact her at any time with concerns of any nature. According to NBC News, Winfrey is also handing out cell phones to every student in the school in order to better facilitate contact.

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