October 18, 2007
Oral Roberts University President Takes a Leave of Absence
Richard Roberts temporarily steps down after three university professors filed a lawsuit earlier this month.
Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts will take a leave of absence after being accused of mishandling school funds and becoming illegally involved in a political campaign, the Associated Press reports.
The ORU Board of Regents announced today that it has accepted his leave of absence, and board executive Billy Joe Daughterty, senior pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, will become acting president.
"The ORU Board of Regents regrets that the university family has had to endure this situation during recent weeks," George Pearsons, chairman of the board said in a statement. "The board is fully committed to supporting the efforts of the independent outside professional firms that will review the allegations and the practices in place at the University and report back to the Board."
Three former ORU professors filed a lawsuit on Oct. 2 that says that they were wrongfully dismissed and alleges the spending using school funds, including home remodels and a trip to the Bahamas. It also accuses Roberts of enlisting students in a local political campaign, which would violate the university's nonprofit status.
An amended complaint included details of an internal ministry report that says Richard Robert's wife Lindsay Roberts' contacted underage males. The AP reports that the documents says Lindsay Roberts spent the night in the university guest house with an underage male on nine separate occasions, among other allegations.
"The last three weeks have taken a serious toll on me and my family," Richard Roberts said in a statement Wednesday. "The untrue allegations have struck a terrible blow in my heart. The untrue allegations of sexual misconduct by my wife have hurt the most."
Oral Roberts is a 5,300-student charismatic university and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.