Lawsuit Prompts Comments From School President

Thursday, October 4th 2007, 6:00 am
By: News On 6

The president of Oral Roberts University speaks out. One day after ORU and several of its top leaders are named in a wrongful termination lawsuit, ORU president Richard Roberts responds. He addressed his students Wednesday morning in a chapel service.

News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims reports that Richard Roberts calls the lawsuit blackmail and extortion. And while he did not go into specifics, he told his students he is confident he will come out on top.

Clapping students greeted Richard Roberts, as he took to the stage for Wednesday morning chapel. Roberts told the students he was awakened in the middle of the night by God and told to write.

"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," says ORU president Richard Roberts.

Three former professors are suing ORU and several top school officials, including Richard Roberts for wrongful termination and defamation. The lawsuit claims the university illegally participated in the race for Tulsa Mayor and the Roberts family misused university money to finance extravagances, like $50,000 clothing bills, luxury vehicles, and a $30,000 "senior trip" for their daughter.

Roberts told ORU students this lawsuit is not about wrongful termination.

"It is about intimidation, blackmail and extortion. Make no mistake about it. This suit is about money," says ORU president Richard Roberts.

While many students in the audience seem to be standing by their president, some folks just outside were standing against him.

"I'm out here because I believe that my friends here and the students here deserve to know the truth from the administration and the Roberts family about where their tuition money goes and what it's spent on," says former ORU student Caleb Trujillo.

Caleb Trujillo went to ORU for two years. He says he believed in the cause and in Roberts. Now, Trujillo says he feels cheated.

"And I still owe that money to the school. And the Roberts family is using that money to promote political campaigns and that is a federal offense. And to spend it on their own things, that's just not right," says Caleb Trujillo.

"Some may think that I ought to hang my head in shame. But I won't do that. I am confident, when the real truth is known, there will be no more questions," says ORU president Richard Roberts.

The News On 6 also received a statement from ORU Associate Provost Jeff Ogle, who is accused of sexual harassment in the lawsuit. Dr. Ogle said in an e-mail that he is not aware of any of his conduct that could be construed as sexual harassment. "I am not aware of any conduct or communication that I have engaged in that could be construed as sexual harassment. The damage that has been done to me, my family and my friends is irreparable. I look forward to having my reputation restored through the legal process," says Dr. Jeff Ogle.

Watch the video: Richard Roberts Speaks Out About Lawsuit