A former top Liberty University official is suing the evangelical Christian school, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle on what he said was the mishandling of students’ and staffers’ sexual abuse complaints.
Scott Lamb, who until Oct. 6 was the senior vice president of communications and public engagement at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school, said he was let go after refusing a separation agreement that included a nondisclosure clause, according to the complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia.
The lawsuit alleges Liberty terminated Mr. Lamb “in retaliation for his opposition to the University’s mishandling of Title IX sexual misconduct accusations, including many allegations of sexual assaults by current and former male staff and students against current and former female students and employees of the University, and his participation in an internal investigation conducted by outside counsel of the same.”
The Washington Times made multiple requests for comment from school officials on the lawsuit.
In his complaint, Mr. Lamb said Liberty officials told him to “get to the bottom of things that took place, ostensibly under the former president” — a reference to Jerry Falwell Jr., who left the school founded by his father in August 2020 following allegations of personal misconduct.
Mr. Lamb told The Washington Times that he identified problems, believing he was following instructions from then-acting President Jerry Prevo to be “completely truthful, honest, transparent, [and] forthcoming, with no regard to the reputation of the university, executive leadership, the Board of Trustees, or the general reputation of the school.”
But two days before his firing, Mr. Lamb’s complaint alleges, he was summoned to a meeting with Mr. Prevo — who is now listed on the school’s website as president and not “acting president” — and three other officials and was told to resign.
The complaint states Mr. Lamb believes his firing was retaliation for his “vocal opposition to the University’s handling of what [Mr. Lamb] believed to be corrupt practices, which included the University’s failure to address Title IX violations, by the highest levels of University leadership and the Board of Trustees.”
Mr. Lamb’s lawsuit is not the only action alleging improprieties in handling Title IX complaints by Liberty students. In July, 12 former employees of students of the school sued alleging the university did not properly respond to reports of sexual assault and in some cases failed to inform students of their right to report such attacks to local police.
A further 10 students joined the action on Oct. 14, according to Lynchburg television station WSET, which has investigated the school.
The university, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. in 1971, has 15,000 students on campus and another 110,000 online.