Liberty University files restraining order against 'whistleblower' suing for wrongful firing

The Freedom Tower at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is the home of Liberty's School of Divinity.
The Freedom Tower at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is the home of Liberty's School of Divinity. | Courtesy of Liberty University

Liberty University is asking a federal court to stop a former employee from disclosing confidential information and documents amid a legal battle over claims that the evangelical Christian school wrongfully fired him for speaking out about how it handled sexual assault allegations.

Scott Lamb, formerly the school’s senior vice president of communications, sued the Lynchburg-based university and claimed that he was dismissed because he expressed concern over how Liberty officials handled sexual assault claims.

Liberty filed a request for a temporary restraining order last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia against Lamb, arguing that he is still bound to his confidentiality agreement with the university.

The motion also asks for Lamb to, among other things, deliver “all documents or other information, including all privileged, confidential, and/or trade secret information” to Liberty and to disclose all the people to whom he has sent such sensitive documents or information.

In a memorandum of law filed in support of the motion, a copy of which was emailed to The Christian Post on Monday, Liberty argued that “Lamb promised not to disclose any confidential information without Liberty approval and to return all confidential Liberty information upon his departure” when he signed a confidentiality agreement in 2018.

“Although many of these materials were likely protected trade secrets, privileged communications or attorney work product protected information, Lamb has admitted that he disclosed them to the media, general public and commercial enemies of Liberty without privilege or prior permission as contractually required,” the memorandum reads.

“Perhaps most shockingly, Lamb has demonstrated no regard for the attorney-client privilege, freely discussing privileged advice regarding litigation strategy and other matters on national media.”

Liberty filed a counterclaim to Lamb’s lawsuit, denying certain statements made in his filing last month. Liberty contends that Lamb was fired "for insubordination, expense mismanagement, and overall poor performance." 

In a statement emailed to CP, the university said that while it “made every possible effort to avoid taking this action,” it believes that “Lamb simply continues to make egregious, false claims and to violate the law.”

“We simply had to act to protect the institution’s mission. We will let the lawsuit speak for itself. It speaks clearly and factually. We have absolutely no doubt that in court our claims will be irrefutable,” Liberty maintained.

Lamb directed CP to a statement he posted to Twitter on Monday in which he explained that he tried to change Liberty from within regarding alleged abuses. He claimed that Liberty is “lying about the reason for my termination.”

“Because Liberty University has neither the law nor the facts on its side, its strategy is to pound on the one who sought to reform from within — the whistleblower,” tweeted Lamb.

“As I allege in my lawsuit, I spoke about abuses at Liberty during my entire duration of employment. I spoke out loudly, often, and with little regard for hanging to my job, because I spoke as one who will give an account to God.”

In his statement, Lamb said that he gave over 20 hours of testimony when the Baker Tilly firm interviewed him during an independent investigation in 2021. 

“Before my first minute of testimony, I was given a 2-page letter of ‘whistleblower protection,’ signed by interim president Jerry Prevo, instructing me to speak honestly, forthrightly, thoroughly, and without any regard to the reputation of the school, its leadership, or its board. “And Prevo promised that there would be no retaliation for my honest testimony,” he wrote.

“I indicted the former president, the Board of Trustees for negligence and Jerry Prevo as the chairman of the trustees during the entire presidency of Jerry Falwell Jr. Baker Tilly presented their report to Jerry Prevo and the Board of Trustees on September 29. Seven days later, Jerry Prevo fired me.”  

Lamb further added that he has “enough documentary evidence” to prove his claims in court and would be happy to give testimony under penalty of perjury to federal agencies or U.S. Congress. 

Lamb added that while Liberty “can hire every lawyer and PR firm in the land to attempt to silence me,” this “will not stop the truth from breaking out of Liberty’s conspiracy of silence.”

“God help me if I do anything else but speak up for the true heroes of this story — those who were silenced previously but now are shouting from the rooftops,” he concluded.

Last month, ProPublica published an investigative piece titled, “‘The Liberty Way’: How Liberty University Discourages and Dismisses Students’ Reports of Sexual Assaults.”

ProPublica interviewed former Liberty students who detailed experiences in which the university allegedly mishandled sexual assault allegations and claimed the school even threatened accusers.

The article mentioned how Lamb was allegedly fired for expressing concerns over how the university was handling the allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Concerns about sexual assault would go up the chain and then die,” Lamb told ProPublica, adding that he believed Liberty engaged in a “conspiracy of silence” regarding allegations.

In July, 12 unnamed women filed a class-action suit against Liberty, claiming the school violated Title IX federal discrimination law by failing to process allegations properly.

“Liberty University has intentionally created a campus environment where sexual assaults and rapes are foreseeably more likely to occur than they would in the absence of Liberty’s policies,” stated the lawsuit.

The suit claimed “The Liberty Way,” the school’s honor code, was used to silence accusers by not clarifying if a woman who reports being sexually assaulted will be punished for violating the code if she admits to breaking other aspects of the code, such as the ban on drinking, when reporting an alleged assault.

Liberty President Jerry Prevo issued a statement declaring that “The Liberty Way should never be misused to cover up wrongdoing.”

“It is also the case that as a Christian university we will remain unwavering in our commitment to cultivating a culture in our Liberty community that honors God’s Word and embraces God’s principles for life,” stated Prevo.

“While ‘The Liberty Way’ must never be used to discourage victims from reporting wrongdoing, we also believe that we do not have to choose between embracing our code of conduct as a Christian university and in complying with our legal Title IX obligations.”

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