Oral Roberts professor settles out of court

Friday, January 11th 2008, 10:55 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. -- Oral Roberts University has settled with one of three professors who brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against the evangelical school and its former president, Richard Roberts, last fall.

John Swails, who was chairman of the school's department of history, humanities and government, will be reinstated as a professor at the university. Other terms of the agreement remain confidential, attorneys for both parties said late Thursday.

"I'm satisfied," Swails said, when reached by phone, adding that he could not comment further.

It took nearly all day for an agreement to be hammered out, as both parties met during the first session of court-ordered mediation.

The other two professors, Tim and Paulita Brooker, will continue their case against the school Friday morning in Tulsa County District Court.

Tim Brooker said Thursday there was "still a chance" for him to settle the case, but in the meantime, "we'll proceed with pursuing the truth."

Frank Hagedorn, an attorney for Roberts, read a statement Thursday from his client, "The university decided to settle this case and I support the university."

Roberts resigned as president in November amid accusations he misspent university funds to support a lavish lifestyle. 

He repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and said the lawsuit amounted to "intimidation, blackmail and extortion."

The professors' lawsuit, filed Oct. 2, alleged they were forced out after they reported the private Christian school's involvement in a local political race. They also said their dismissals came after they gave regents a copy of a report documenting alleged moral and ethical problems of Roberts and his family.

The document accused Roberts of lavish spending at a time when the university faced more than $50 million in debt, including shopping sprees, buying a stable of horses and paying for one daughter to travel to the Bahamas aboard the university jet.