Oprah Winfrey is heading to court later this month to defend herself against charges of defamation.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a judge rejected O’s request to have a defamation suit filed against her dismissed from court. The trial is now set to start March 29 at a U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, the former headmistress of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, filed the suit back in September of 2008. She charges that O made comments against her alleging that Lerato tried to cover up claims of abuse at the school.
A dorm mother was charged with sexually abusing six students between the ages of 13 and 15. Oprah claimed that school officials hid the abuse from her and told pupils to appear happy while she was on campus.
According to court documents, Oprah said during a 2007 news conference, "I trusted her. When I appointed her, I thought she was passionate about the children of Africa . . . [b]ut I’ve been disappointed."
"I feel that the girls were placed in an atmosphere where they were taught to be fearful and they were taught to literally be silenced," she added. "And so when you remove the systems and put in a different kind of leadership, all that will change."
Although Oprah and her legal team are disappointed with the courts decision to bring the suit to trial, they are complying with the court’s decision.
– Sonya Eskridge