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Oral Roberts U. president takes leave

Oct. 17, 2007 at 5:57 PM

TULSA, Okla., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts said Wednesday he is taking a leave of absence from the Oklahoma school founded by his evangelist father.

Roberts issued a statement in Tulsa saying he would step aside while the school contests a wrongful termination lawsuit by three former professors who accuse him and his wife, Lindsay Roberts, of misconduct, CNN reported.

"I have prayed about it, and feel that it is in the best interest of my family and the university" to step aside, Roberts said.

The plaintiffs allege they were fired from their jobs at the university after they reported information indicating that Roberts and his family spent school funds on themselves.

Roberts -- who has denied the allegations -- said he would return to his post "when the board feels that it is appropriate."

He said last week on CNN's "Larry King Live" he would not seek a leave of absence.

"I've not done anything for which I should have to step aside," he said.

The lawsuit was recently amended to include accusations that the school gave "a convicted sexual deviant unrestricted access to students" and shredded evidence after the suit was initially filed, CNN said.

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