Oral Roberts President Takes Leave Amid Allegations

Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts has asked for a leave of absence while the schools resolves a lawsuit filed by three former professors who have charged Roberts and his wife of misconduct.

Roberts made the announcement Wednesday, four days after plaintiffs filed an amended lawsuit that detailed further allegations.

"I have asked the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University to grant me a temporary leave of absence until such time as these matters can be resolved," said Roberts in a statement Wednesday.

"I have prayed about it, and feel that it is in the best interest of my family and the University," added Roberts after telling CNN's "Larry King Live" in an interview last week that he would not seek a leave of absence.

On Wednesday, the Board of Regents granted Roberts' request.

"The ORU Board of Regents regrets that the university family has had to endure this situation during recent weeks," said George Pearsons, chairman of the Board of Regents, in a statement.

"We have a deep appreciation for the work that is being done by administration, faculty and staff at ORU," Pearsons added. "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."

In the statement, the board said it has named Billy Joe Daugherty, senior pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, as acting president, along with founder Oral Roberts, chancellor of the university.

Richard Roberts said that he would still continue in his role as chairman and chief executive of Oral Roberts Ministries.

The three former ORU professors who filed the lawsuit last week contend that they were wrongfully terminated from their positions at the university after reporting information indicating that the Roberts lavishly misspent donors' money for personal expenses and that Roberts jeopardized the university's nonprofit status by becoming illegally involved in a local political campaign.

Roberts has denied the allegations, saying last week on "Larry King Live" that they were "preposterous and untrue."

"The last 3 weeks have taken a serious toll on me and my family. The untrue allegations have struck a terrible blow in my heart," said Roberts in Wednesday's statement.

Last Friday, the lawsuit was amended with a "Scandal Vulnerability Assessment" that accuses the school of giving a "convicted sexual deviant unrestricted access to students" then shredding the evidence after the lawsuit was filed. It also says Mrs. Roberts had some sort of relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

The following day, both the university and Lindsay Roberts issued statements responding to allegations in the amended lawsuit.

Oral Roberts University denied it "employed a sexual deviant" or "purposely or improperly destroyed documents are also untrue."

The wife of the university's president said in her statement that the allegations "sicken" her to her soul.

"The part that grieves me the most is that these accusations are being brought forth in so many areas and being seen and heard through the media when the parties suing have continued to say they don't even know if these allegations are true. I believe it's grossly unfair to allow such speculation to be used against me and attached to a lawsuit in which I am not even named as a party," stated Lindsay Roberts.

"I live my life in a morally upright manner and throughout my marriage have never, ever engaged in any sexual behavior with any man outside of my marriage as the accusations imply. These allegations cast a dark cloud on me, my family, the ministry, and the university family," she continued.

In conclusion, she said, "I firmly believe that my vindication will certainly come in the court of law in the future and I am issuing this statement because I am unwilling to idly sit by and be accused of actions that are not true."

Richard Roberts said that allegations of sexual misconduct by his wife have hurt his family the most.

However, he expressed his faith in the board and God to work while he is on leave.

"I don't know how long this leave of absence will last, but I fully trust the members of the Board of Regents. They are great men and women who have a deep love for this university and for me and my family," stated Roberts Wednesday.

"I pray and believe that in God's timing, and when the Board feels that it is appropriate, I will be back at my post as President."

Oral Roberts University, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has around 5,300 students. It was founded in 1963 by televangelist Oral Roberts who said God mandated for a school to be built on God's authority and the Holy Spirit, according to the university's website.