Updated: Roberts taking leave of absence
BY Staff reports
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
10/19/07 at 2:06 PM
The latest on this story: Roberts takes ORU leave
For more: Read the latest stories, view the lawsuit and other documents and watch slide shows and video.
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Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts issued a written statement on Wednesday saying he is taking an indefinite leave of absence, following intense scrutiny spawned by financial, political and other allegations raised in a lawsuit.
This announcement comes eight days after Roberts said on national television: "I have not done anything wrong for which I needed to step aside."
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 as a replacement for Roberts and would want him to return if allegations made against ORU in a recent lawsuit are found to be untrue.
Roberts will continued to live in university provided housing and will be paid while on leave, Pearsons said.
Daugherty left the board of regents in mid-June, but accepted an offer last week to rejoin the board.
In Roberts' statement, he said, "Today, 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," he said. "I have prayed about it and feel that it is in the best interest of my family and the university."
Roberts said the allegations -- particularly "untrue allegations of sexual misconduct by my wife" -- "have taken a serious toll on me and my family."
Roberts said he "fully trusts" the board and said, "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."
"Meanwhile, I will give myself afresh and anew to my family, and to prayer and the Word of God," his statement continued.
He will stay on as chairman and CEO of Oral Roberts Ministries; will continue his work on television; and will continue to teach, preach, write letters and books, and meet people's needs, he said.
Roberts praised the academic and spiritual education students receive at ORU.
Here is Roberts' statement in full:
Statement issued by Dr. Richard Roberts, Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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. The untrue allegations of sexual misconduct by my wife have hurt the most. It has broken her heart and the hearts of my children that such untrue allegations could be made. Lindsay and my children have sustained heavy damage these last weeks. God is very interested in the family unit and so am I.
The plaintiffs have said "We don't know if any of these allegations are true, but they are so defaming that the Roberts won't survive." We Roberts have a strong faith in God and in what is right. We will do what is right and trust the Lord.
Today, 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. I have prayed about it, and feel that it is in the best interest of my family and the University.
I have a tremendous love for the students and alumni of ORU -- they are precious to God. They came here to get a quality education and to learn to hear the Voice of God. That's happening daily. Even today, other young people around the world are searching for the right college to attend. I pray that they will consider ORU. This university is academically sound, spiritually alive and physically disciplined.
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. 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.
Meanwhile, I will give myself afresh and anew to my family, and to prayer and the Word of God. I shall continue my role as Chairman and CEO of the Oral Roberts Ministries. I shall continue on television as I have a burning passion for the lost, the sick and the hurting of this world. I shall continue preaching and teaching God's Word and drawing people to Christ our Savior. I shall continue to write letters and books and minister to the needs of people for I have a passion for souls. Thank you for all your prayers and support; it means a great deal to me and my family.
Richard Roberts taking an indefinite leave of absence.