TULSA — Embattled Richard Roberts announced Wednesday he is taking a leave of absence as president of Oral Roberts University but will remain as chairman and chief executive officer of Oral Roberts Ministries.
In a statement issued by the university, Roberts said that in the 15 days since a lawsuit was filed against him, ORU and three top school officials, the "untrue allegations have struck a terrible blow in my heart.”
Billy Joe Daugherty, pastor of Victory Christian Center, has been named executive regent and will lead the university while Roberts is on leave, said George Pearsons, chairman of ORU's board of regents.
Pearsons said the board does not have anyone in mind to replace Roberts and would want him to return if allegations made in the lawsuit are found to be untrue. Roberts will continue to live in university-provided housing and will be paid while on leave. Daugherty left the board of regents in mid-June, but accepted an offer last week to rejoin the board.
The lawsuit filed in Tulsa County District Court by three former professors alleges libel, slander or defamation, emotional distress and being wrongfully fired.
What does Roberts say?
In his statement Wednesday, Roberts struck back at an allegation in the lawsuit. "The untrue allegations of sexual misconduct by my wife (Lindsay) have hurt the most.”
Robert said he asked ORU's Board of Regents for the leave of absence and will return "when the board feels it's appropriate.”
Earlier, the regents approved an independent investigation of the allegations made in the lawsuit, many of them claiming Roberts and his wife used ORU funds for their personal use.
The suit states that Roberts ordered the use of ORU students in the Tulsa mayoral primary campaign of Randi Miller, now a Tulsa County commissioner, against the advice of the three professors who said it violated the tax code for nonprofit institutions.
Related document: Lawsuit filed against ORU
Oral Roberts, the university
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