TULSA, Okla. — Oral Roberts came to his namesake university for the first time in three years on Monday and told students and employees in a chapel service that “the devil is not going to steal ORU.”
At the service, he said all allegations made in a lawsuit and an attached report are false and that his son Richard Roberts, who took a leave of absence as the school’s president last week, eventually will return to his position, the Tulsa World reported.
Oral Roberts, 89, also said he has moved back to Tulsa. The crowd gave him multiple standing ovations during the chapel service.
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He said the university will begin mediation this week with the three former professors who sued for wrongful termination.
In their lawsuit, the former professors claim Richard Roberts and his wife, Lindsay, lavishly spent university funds and improperly meddled in a local political race.
Oral Roberts, whose family evangelical ministry grew from Southern tent revivals, founded the school in 1963. He holds the title of chancellor at the university, but has lived for several years in California.
Oral Roberts famously told viewers in 1987 that God told him to raise $8 million for the university or he would be “called home.”
In an open letter published Sunday in the Tulsa World, George Pearsons, chairman of ORU’s Board of Regents, said the university is taking steps to preserve the university’s image. Besides granting Richard Roberts a leave of absence, Pearsons said they have hired an outside legal and accounting firm to conduct a full, independent review and audit of the allegations.
“We do not judge those who are accused and will await the facts and respond accordingly,” Pearsons wrote.
Meanwhile, a rally was planned for Monday night in Tulsa by a group supporting plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the university.