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Oct 07 2007

I know, you’re shocked, aren’t you?

Word is getting around about the stupefying level of corruption and sleaze over at Oral Roberts “University”. You know old Oral. He’s the con man who told everyone God would kill him if he didn’t raise $8 million, and got the money, demonstrating conclusively that when it comes to getting filthy rich, there’s no sleaze so great it won’t sell. Well, the sleaze just got sleazier.

The internal document was prepared by Stephanie Cantese, Richard Roberts’ sister-in-law, according to the lawsuit. An ORU student repairing Cantese’s laptop discovered the document and later provided a copy to one of the professors. It details dozens of alleged instances of misconduct. Among them:

  • A longtime maintenance employee was fired so that an underage male friend of Mrs. Roberts could have his position.
  • Mrs. Roberts – who is a member of the board of regents and is referred to as ORU’s “first lady” on the university’s Web site – frequently had cell-phone bills of more than $800 per month, with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to “underage males who had been provided phones at university expense.”
  • The university jet was used to take one daughter and several friends on a senior trip to Orlando, Fla., and the Bahamas. The $29,411 trip was billed to the ministry as an “evangelistic function of the president.”
  • Mrs. Roberts spent more than $39,000 at one Chico’s clothing store alone in less than a year, and had other accounts in Texas and California. She also repeatedly said, “As long as I wear it once on TV, we can charge it off.” The document cites inconsistencies in clothing purchases and actual usage on TV.
  • Mrs. Roberts was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by ministry donors.
  • University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts’ home to do the daughters’ homework.
  • The university and ministry maintain a stable of horses for exclusive use by the Roberts’ children.
  • The Roberts’ home has been remodeled 11 times in the past 14 years.

Tim Brooker, one of the professors who sued, said he fears for the university’s survival if certain changes aren’t made.

It’s hard to imagine which of these is the most meretricious. That Mrs. Roberts appears to be a closet pederast? (What is she texting underage males in the middle of the night for, anyway? Football scores?) That the Roberts family shows their dedication to quality education at their “university” by forcing employees to do their own kids’ homework? That the place even has a “university jet”? Or, echoing the amusing remarks I’ve seen from women in other sites’ comment threads, why, if Mrs. Roberts was going to piss away 39 grand of misappropriated funds buying clothes, she’d do it at a place like Chico’s?

I personally hope Tim Brooker’s fears are realized, and that these revelations finally shut down the farcical ORU for good. Now if we could only unearth similarly scandalous behavior over at Liberty “University” and Bob Jones “University”, we could start to put a serious dent in the plague of fundamentalist miseducation and influence in this country once and for all.

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