Fate of ORU leader not in hands of Oral Roberts

TULSA — Richard Roberts’ fate as president of Oral Roberts University apparently is in the hands of someone other than his father, the school’s founder.

Instead, the decision of when — or whether — the younger Roberts returns will be made by a board composed largely of other televangelists.

Richard Roberts said Wednesday his board of regents had approved his request for a temporary leave of absence in the wake of a lawsuit filed by three former professors. The lawsuit includes allegations of financial misconduct, improper use of staff and students on political campaigns and sexual improprieties by Roberts’ wife, Lindsay, involving a minor.

Anderson Cooper Report.

The Robertses have denied the allegations, which are now under examination by independent auditors. The auditors’ report will determine the president’s long-term future with the university, regents Chairman George Pearsons said last week.

“I would love for him to be cleared of all this,” Pearsons told the Tulsa World in a recent report.

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Pearsons was unavailable for additional comment, an ORU spokesman told The Oklahoman.

The regents’ executive committee includes televangelists Creflo Dollar, John Hagee, Kenneth Copeland and Pearsons, Copeland’s son-in-law.

The school’s extensive list of “business regents” includes those and other televangelists.

Most, like Oral and Richard Roberts, are faith healers and/or subscribers to prosperity ministry — the teaching that God wants His people to be rich.

ORU is nondenominational.

In announcing his leave, Richard Roberts 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.”

• Original title: School leader’s fate lies in other healers’ hands

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This post was last updated: Oct. 22, 2007