A former Liberty University spokesman is suing the university for firing him after he allegedly spoke out on how the school was handling sexual misconduct allegations, according to a suit filed Monday.
Walter Scott Lamb most recently served as the senior vice president of communications and public engagement for the school. He is alleging the university fired him after he argued with executive leadership over their handling of a lawsuit filed in July, where 12 women claimed the university created an environment on its Virginia campus that increased the likelihood of sexual assault and rape.
Lamb is requesting past and future loss of wages and benefits, including pre- and post-judgment interest, compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees. He did not name a specific amount.
A Liberty University spokesperson said in a statement, the university “categorically denies” Lamb’s claims he was fired because of the Title IX lawsuit.
“In reality, Mr. Lamb was terminated-with-cause as a result of a meeting about a recent review of the area under his management,” their statement reads. “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.”
In response to Liberty’s comment, Lamb tweeted a statement saying his lawsuit “alleges that Liberty University has been behaving badly and has drifted from the original mission.”
“I allege that they’ve treated me unfairly for trying to do the work of an internal reformer, for trying to get to the facts of the troubles they have brought upon themselves, and for speaking truth to power,” Lamb’s statement read. “I look forward to pursuing this lawsuit and vindicating my rights — including my right to speak the truth.”
Lawsuit alleges Liberty president called Lamb ‘a liar’
Lamb’s lawsuit stems from an October 4 incident where he testified for over 20 hours to outside counsel looking into the women’s claims. After testifying, Lamb said he got into an argument with University President Jerry Prevo and several others in leadership positions over the “direction of the University,” according to the lawsuit.
Lamb allegedly said he would not “be silenced or participate in a cover up of activities within the University that Plaintiff believes contradicted the law,” including “but not limited to” the accusations alleged in the July Title IX lawsuit.
“During the October 4 meeting, University President Jerry Prevo called Plaintiff a ‘liar’,” the lawsuit reads. “Upon information and belief, this epithet reacted to Plaintiff’s vocal opposition to the University’s handling of what Plaintiff 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.”
The next day, Lamb was offered a severance deal if he were to sign a non-disclosure agreement, preventing him from speaking about his time at the university, according to the lawsuit. When he rejected the deal, he was fired the day after on October 6, the suit reads.
While his lawsuit specifically focuses on the October 4 meeting as a moment of contention, Lamb also alleges he brought up Title IX violations to “many members of the Executive Leadership team, including, but not limited to, President Prevo, his predecessor Jerry Falwell, Jr., and General Counsel (David M.) Corry.”
The university declined to comment on the status of the investigation into the Title IX lawsuit, but said “the university would like to affirm its commitment to take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and in accordance with the law.”
Prevo also sent a letter to the university community on Tuesday denying Lamb’s account, and stated claims the university mishandled the investigation under his leadership were false.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” he wrote. He also reiterated they “will not tolerate Title IX violations, sexual abuse or sexual assault in any form at any time.”
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