Liberty responds to ex-spokesman’s suit, seeks gag order

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Liberty University is responding to a former spokesman’s lawsuit alleging he was fired in retaliation for raising concerns about the handling of sexual misconduct accusations.

The evangelical Virginia school filed its responses to Scott Lamb’s suit last week, seeking more than $3 million and a gag order for Lamb, news outlets reported.

Lamb, a vice president-level executive at the school where he was hired in 2018, alleges in his lawsuit that he was terminated in October 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.

Lamb 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 alleged the school had a pattern of mishandling cases of sexual assault and harassment and had fostered an unsafe campus environment.

Meanwhile, Virginia’s senators called Wednesday for an investigation into the school’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, news outlets report. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine urged the Education Department to look into the university’s procedures for dealing with sexual assault cases.

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.

The university has denied Lamb’s claim and said his firing wasn’t related to Title IX. Instead, the school claims that Lamb falls under the “unclean hands” doctrine, where a plaintiff initially helped to set up the circumstances they’re filing suit about.

Liberty’s response states Lamb was a close advisor to Falwell and played a major hand in forming the Falkirk Center, a religious conservative “think tank.” Co-founder Charlie Kirk removed his name after Falwell’s exit, and the organization was renamed the Standing For Freedom Center.

Because of a confidentiality agreement, the university claims in its response that Lamb breached his contract and fiduciary duties to the school and has defamed the school. Liberty states that after Falwell left, Lamb began cataloging school information in an act of “workplace espionage.”

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