Ex-Liberty spokesman says he was fired for raising concerns

Oct 25, 2021, 5:04 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2021, 8:08 am

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former spokesperson for Liberty University is suing the evangelical Virginia school after being fired, alleging in a lawsuit filed Monday that his termination came in retaliation for voicing concerns that sexual misconduct accusations were mishandled.

Scott Lamb, a vice president-level executive at the school where he was hired in 2018, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he pushed for answers about what was being done to investigate claims raised in a lawsuit filed over the summer by 12 women, and was continually dissatisfied.

The women’s lawsuit, which is still ongoing, alleged the school had a pattern of mishandling cases of sexual assault and harassment and had fostered an unsafe campus environment. A student-led movement has since been established to advocate for systemic reforms, and the nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica published a deeply reported investigation Sunday with findings similar to the allegations raised in the lawsuit.

Lamb said in the interview that the university, which has a gleaming campus in Lynchburg, has plenty of resources and should have used them to open a third-party investigation of the women’s claims.

“We put $300 million in the bank last year, and some change. We have two-point-something-billion in the endowment, and we can’t afford to just deal righteously with these people. Why?” Lamb said.

Liberty University General Counsel David Corry said in a statement that the university “categorically denies Mr. Lamb’s claims that his termination was in any way the result of advice he had given on how the university should respond” to the women’s lawsuit. He said Lamb was terminated with cause as a result of a meeting about “a recent review of the area under his management.”

“Lamb’s lawsuit is a transparent effort to rebuild his own reputation by shamefully playing on the goodwill of supporters of sexual assault victims. We look forward to addressing his claims in court,” Corry said.

Lamb’s lawsuit alleges that he was terminated for engaging in activity protected under Title IX, the federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education, after challenging the university’s handling of the complaints.

His complaint says things came to a head in a meeting early this month when he told top school officials that “he would not be silenced or participate in a cover up of activities” at the university.

The following day, he was approached about negotiating a separation agreement and on Oct. 6, he was fired, according to the lawsuit.

Lamb also alleges that he was retaliated against for his participation in an outside investigation conducted into the tenure of Jerry Falwell Jr., the former president whose personal controversies and acrimonious departure from Liberty last year garnered national headlines.

His lawsuit says he sat for 20-25 hours of interviews as part of that probe, the findings of which the school has not discussed publicly.

Lamb’s lawsuit broadens the list of litigation the school has faced recently. In April, the school sued Falwell, seeking millions in damages. And in July, a former NFL player hired last year to help lead diversity initiatives sued, alleging racial discrimination in his demotion and subsequent firing.

Lamb said he was offered a severance package if he signed a nondisclosure agreement, which he declined. His firing has meant not only the loss of his income and benefits but scholarship funding for his four children who attend the school, he said. His lawsuit seeks to recoup past and future wage losses and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

“I’ll forsake the scholarship and the salary and the benefits … to keep my tongue free to speak of which I’ve seen,” he said.

A Liberty spokesperson did not respond to questions from AP about what the school has done to investigate the female litigants’ claims, aside from resending a statement issued in July, when the lawsuit was filed. Nor did the spokesperson respond to a request for comment about ProPublica’s investigation.

Kendall Covington, a senior at Liberty and a student representative for Save71, an alumni-led organization advocating for reform at Liberty, said the group welcomes Lamb’s apparent willingness to push for change.

She said the student body had not received any kind of acknowledgment Monday about the ProPublica story, something she called “par for the course.”

“Liberty University needs to actually address what’s occurring,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Democracy advocate Jimmy Lai, center, leaves the Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal in Hong K...
Associated Press

Hong Kong jails pro-democracy media tycoon over fraud

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong court sentenced a pro-democracy media tycoon to five years and nine months in prison on Saturday over two fraud charges linked to lease violations, the latest of a series of cases against prominent activists that critics say are aimed at crushing dissent in the city. Jimmy Lai, who […]
1 day ago
A man holds an Argentinian flag prior to the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Nether...
Associated Press

Soccer writer Grant Wahl dies at World Cup match in Qatar

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Grant Wahl, one of the most well-known soccer writers in the United States, died early Saturday while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. U.S. media seated near him said Wahl fell back in his seat in the media tribune at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Oranges rot on the ground on Oct. 12, 2022, at Roy Petteway's Citrus and Cattle Farm after t...
Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Production of oranges in Florida this season is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions, according to U.S. Agriculture Department figures released Friday. The latest forecast calls for about 18 million boxes of oranges to be produced in […]
1 day ago
FILE - A JetBlue Airbus A320 taxis to a gate on Oct. 26, 2016, after landing, as an American Airlin...
Associated Press

American, JetBlue expand deal that US is trying to kill

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are pushing ahead with an expansion of their partnership in the Northeast, even as a federal judge considers the government’s attempt to kill the deal. The airlines said Friday that American will add six new routes from New York City while dropping one. JetBlue will […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Uber rider fatally stabs New Orleans driver, authorities say

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans Police Department employee who was moonlighting as an Uber driver was stabbed to death by a passenger in what a sheriff said was a random act of deadly violence. Yolanda Dillion, 54, was a fiscal analyst with the police department, New Orleans police chief Shaun Ferguson said Friday. […]
1 day ago
FILE - People wait in front of a pharmacy to get a COVID-19 test in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 9, ...
Associated Press

France to make condoms free for anyone under 25, Macron says

PARIS (AP) — France will make condoms free in pharmacies for anyone up to age 25 in the new year, President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday. The move comes as the government says sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people, and as this year’s exceptional inflation is cutting especially deeply into the budgets […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Ex-Liberty spokesman says he was fired for raising concerns