Source AP ©

President of evangelical Christian university wants to take leave amid accusations of illegal actions

The president of a major evangelical Christian university asked for a leave amid accusations of lavish spending at donors' expense and illegal involvement in a political campaign.

Richard Roberts, the 58-year-old son of the evangelist who founded Oral Roberts University, said he would continue in his role as chairman and chief executive of Oral Roberts Ministries.

"I don't know how long this leave of absence will last, but I fully trust the members of the Board of Regents," Roberts said in a statement released by the university. "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."

An Oct. 2 lawsuit filed by three former professors says they were wrongfully dismissed and accuses Roberts of misspending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodels and a senior trip to the Bahamas for one daughter on the ministry's dime.

It also accuses Roberts of illegal involvement in a local political campaign, which would violate the university's nonprofit status.

The professors say they were forced out after turning over this information to the board of regents.

The amended complaint also included an internal ministry report, titled "Scandal Vulnerability Assessment," documenting allegations of misconduct by the university and the Roberts family. Only a partial report was included in the Oct. 2 lawsuit.

The more detailed account alleges Richard Roberts' wife, Lindsay, spent the night in the ORU guest house with an underage male "on nine separate occasions," and was photographed 29 times with an underage male in her sports car, among other allegations.

The internal report was prepared by Stephanie Cantees, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law. An ORU spokesman said Cantees would not comment on the report.

In a statement, Lindsay said she lived her life in "a morally upright manner" and had never engaged in any sexual behavior with any man outside of her marriage as the accusations imply.

Gary Richardson, attorney for the dismissed professors, said his clients "stand ready and prepared at the appropriate time to prove the truth of those allegations, and also prove the truth of the fact they were fired after providing the information off Stephanie Cantees' computer to the board of regents.

Oral Roberts, 89, said last week that the allegations against his family had blindsided him, "but we have been through some tough experiences in building Oral Roberts University in the 1960s, and we have surprised them all and have built a university that we believe is for the glory of God."

The Roberts family ministry grew from Southern tent revivals to one of the most successful evangelical empires in the United States, hauling in tens of millions of dollars in contributions a year. The university reported nearly $76 million (53.5 million EUR) in revenue in 2005, according to the IRS.

Roberts famously told viewers in 1987 that God told him to raise $8 million (5.6 million EUR) for the university or he would be "called home."

The week the lawsuit was filed, Richard Roberts said at a chapel service that God told him to deny the allegations. He said God told him: "We live in a litigious society. Anyone can get mad and file a lawsuit against another person whether they have a legitimate case or not. This lawsuit ... is about intimidation, blackmail and extortion."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a briefing in Beijing that the question about the shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria had not been resolved yet. However, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said that S-300 missile systems had been delivered to Syria last month

Israel can learn many lessons with the help of Russia's S-300 air defence systems in Syria

Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems

Israel vows to destroy Russia's S-300 in Syria in case of danger
Comments
Ukraine loses nearly 4,000 military men killing fellow Ukrainians in Donbass
World War Three is near? The West wants to bypass Russia's veto at UN Security Council
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Russia and China warn against 'chaos and war' on Korean Peninsula
Large lake of boiling water found on Mars
Chernobyl could have killed 40,000 people
Silk Road To Germany: New Molotov-Ribbentrop-Mao Pact
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Israel vows to destroy Russia's S-300 in Syria in case of danger
Russia wants to be prepared for most severe sanctions that Washington is working on
Russia wants to be prepared for most severe sanctions that Washington is working on
Russian Air Force shows how NATO ships can be destroyed. Video
Two women fall victims to Moscow plastic surgeons in two weeks
World War Three is near? The West wants to bypass Russia's veto at UN Security Council
Israel can learn many lessons with the help of Russia's S-300 air defence systems in Syria
Russian Air Force shows how NATO ships can be destroyed. Video
UK's Lehram fails to challenge the sale of Kuzbass mine
Ukraine loses nearly 4,000 military men killing fellow Ukrainians in Donbass
World War Three is near? The West wants to bypass Russia's veto at UN Security Council
Israel can learn many lessons with the help of Russia's S-300 air defence systems in Syria
Putin to sign new decree to spend ten trillion rubles on social needs