FROM A-1 saults.
Lawson, 20, of Temple, Texas, was charged Monday with one
count of forcible sodomy and two counts of lewd molestation of
a minor. He has been expelled from ORU.
Newspaper reports from the Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram
show that Lawson, a licensed Baptist minister who has been
ministering in churches since he was 14, started a club called
the Children of God Club of Temple at his 2,000-student high
school when he was a sophomore.
"The club started with 8 to 10 members and by the end of
his senior year grew to 30 to 40 students," the October 1998
story said. "Lawson taught sometimes three times a week in the
meetings as well as held a citywide youth rally. He also
counseled with students on various issues ranging from
sexuality to satanism and depression.
"In his sophomore year, he served as president of the
Baptist Willow Grove Junior Brotherhood Association, . . . a
conglomeration of 23 different churches with more than 200
different young men."
In that position, he preached at churches across central
Texas and at the Baptist state youth convention, the Daily
A story published by the Telegram in April 1986 quoted
Lawson, then a Temple High School junior and president of the
Children of God Club, as saying club officers must have
maturity, high academics and dedication to Christian values.
"If you're going to lead a Christian group, you have to set
an example," said Lawson, who the paper said wanted to be an
evangelist and minister.
The paper also said Lawson, while a student at ORU in 1998,
had accepted a position as youth pastor at a Tulsa church.
That could not be confirmed Wednesday night.
Tulsa police first learned of allegations of molestation
July 22 when a man reported that his 13-year-old son had been
sexually assaulted at an ORU summer soccer camp, an affidavit
by Tulsa Police Detective E.R. Eagan said. A university
official said ORU also reported the incident that day.
But Eagan alleged in the affidavit that other allegations
of molestations were not reported to police.
Eagan said her investigation "revealed that Oral Roberts
University possessed nine pages of written documentation in
the form of witness statements by juveniles alleging that they
were the victims of a sexual assault or the attempted victims
of sexual assaults or witnesses to these events . . . during
the months of May, June and July of 1999, and that none of
these incidents was reported to the police by ORU staff," the
The school also had documentation about alleged incidents
reported by a dormitory resident assistant and security staff,
Eagan said. Calhoun said that during a meeting with police
supervisors Wednesday, Eagan told them that "so far the
suspect has been more righteous with us than ORU officials."
The ORU statement issued Wednesday by David Wagner, a
spokesman for the university, said that "when campus security
received a report at 10:45 p.m. on July 21, 1999, of an
incident that did appear to be a crime, they filed the initial
report with the Tulsa Police Department. The following
morning, . . . ORU gave the complete incident reports for the
June and July incidents to an officer who responded from the
Tulsa Police Department."
ORU officials continued to try to identify a suspect, and a
suspect was interviewed Aug. 16 when he returned to campus to
register for fall classes, Wagner's statement said.
"After the suspect confessed to campus officials about the
incidents, several attempts were made that same evening,
August 16, 1999, to reach the sex crimes unit of the Tulsa
Police Department to report that a suspect had been
Eagan talked to the head of security Aug. 17 and requested
the tape-recorded confessions from him, but her request was
denied, according to her affidavit.
Police brought Lawson to the Sex Crimes Unit on Aug. 18,
and he was interviewed and arrested. At that time police
learned of previous victims.
Eagan's affidavit stated: "After Lawson was advised of his
Miranda rights, Lawson admitted to committing several sexual
assaults of six different juvenile boys who were attending
soccer camps and math/science academies during May, June, and
July of 1998 and May, June and July of 1999 on the campus of
Oral Roberts University."
"ORU's director of campus security was unaware of these
previous incidents but began reviewing previous reports,"
according to Wagner's statement. "Those initial incidents,
reported in May, also were investigated by a campus security
Calhoun said the victim Lawson was referring to who was
assaulted in 1998 has not been located. He said there is no
indication ORU was notified about an assault in 1998.
by,EMarshal Nicole Marshall, World staff writer, can be
reached at 581-8459 or via e-mail at