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Indecent Exposure Charges Dismissed Against Oprah’s Dad

March 29, 1995

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Charges that Oprah Winfrey’s father committed indecent exposure were dismissed by a judge today because of a lack of evidence.

Vernon Winfrey, 62, was accused of forcing a Tennessee State University junior to touch his genitals.

Pamela Kennedy, 28, said she went to Winfrey’s barber shop on Jan. 30 to ask his help in obtaining scholarship money. The elder Winfrey administers 10 scholarships funded by his daughter, who graduated from Tennessee State.

General Sessions Judge Phil Sadler dismissed the misdemeanor charges after Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman told him an investigation didn’t turn up enough evidence to pursue the case.

``I believe what happened today vindicates him,″ said Thomas C. Binkley, Winfrey’s lawyer. ``He’s real glad it’s over with and I am, too.″

If convicted, Vernon Winfrey could have faced up to six months in jail and a fine of $500.

A $3 million civil suit Kennedy filed against the elder Winfrey is still pending.

Vernon Winfrey, who was not in court today, has said he believes Kennedy was after his daughter’s money.

There was no comment from Kennedy’s attorney, Frank Thompson-McLeod. He was not in his office and did not return calls.

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