Liberty University President Jerry Prevo on Tuesday accused the school’s former spokesman of “falsely” alleging in a lawsuit that university officials “attempted to mishandle” a raft of sexual abuse complaints.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Mr. Prevo said in an online letter to the “Liberty University Community.”
Mr. Prevo asserted that he had taken internal actions when 12 former students filed a Title IX lawsuit against Liberty in July — an action since joined by 10 others, including current students.
“I want to make something clear, as I did on the day the lawsuit was filed, as I did in my email to my team on the same day, as I did in Convocation to the student body this fall and in this note to you: Liberty University will not tolerate Title IX violations, sexual abuse or sexual assault in any form at any time,” he wrote.
His statement came one day after Scott Lamb, formerly the university’s senior vice president of communications and public engagement, filed a lawsuit alleging that he was terminated for protesting what he called “mishandling” of Title IX complaints against the school.
Mr. Lamb’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, says his firing was in 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.”
In his university-wide letter on Tuesday, Mr. Prevo said he instructed the school’s management team to treat the “Jane Doe” lawsuit allegations seriously.
“Liberty has a very robust Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and you should continue to focus on implementing its policies and procedures in a fair manner,” the university president wrote. “Also, continue to provide supportive measures to all those who need them. I want you to know that you have my full and unwavering support. I take this seriously and want to be sure you understand that I need you and every member of your team to take it just as seriously.”
Separately, a spokesperson for the university offered a response to Mr. Lamb’s lawsuit, saying the school “categorically denies” that Mr. Lamb was fired over any criticisms of the university’s Title IX lawsuit response.
“In reality, Mr. 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,” the spokesperson said.
Late Tuesday, attorney Thomas Roberts told The Washington Times that Mr. Lamb “denies LU’s recently offered explanation for his termination and will provide significant details of LU’s handling of Title IX complaints and his criticism and opposition to LU’s handling of Title IX complaints.”
Founded in 1971 by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., Liberty University has 15,000 students at its campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, and 110,000 students taking online classes.