Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned as president and chancellor of Liberty University on Monday, the same day Reuters published an investigative report alleging that he and his wife Becki were involved in a seven-year sexual affair with a former pool boy and business associate.
Just weeks after he had been placed on an indefinite leave of absence following his publication of an inappropriate photo on Instagram, the prominent evangelical leader and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump gave up the reins of power at the flagship Christian college his father founded, according to Religion News Service (RNS).
As The Daily Wire reported:
Giancarlo Granda, 29, told Reuters that his alleged relationship with Falwell and his wife, Becki, began when he was just 20, when he met them while working as a pool boy at Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in 2012. Granda said the trysts, which he claims involved Falwell watching as he had sex with his wife, continued until 2018. “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” he said.
Granda reportedly provided Reuters with evidence of the affair, which he said involved the trio getting together “multiple times per year.” Looking back, he also claimed the Falwells’ treatment of him was predatory, saying, “Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades.”
In a lengthy statement given to the Washington Examiner on Sunday night, Falwell admitted Granda had an affair with his wife but claimed the former pool boy was trying to blackmail his family. Falwell told RNS that he had no comment beyond the statement he gave to the Examiner.
A group of 50 pastors who attended Liberty asked the board of trustees last week to “permanently remove” Falwell from a position of leadership, following the Instagram photo and other things he had done that they found shameful. They claimed Falwell “has also embarrassed the many alumni that work hard in our community to not only uphold the reputation of the university but to uphold a positive witness for the name of Christ.”
Pastor Colby Garman of Pillar Church in Dumfries, Virginia, who was among those who signed the letter, lamented the situation on Twitter, writing, “The past 24 hours of news related to Liberty University and Jerry Falwell Jr. and his family is sad. Whatever portion of it is true it is a reminder of just how deeply entangling sin can become and our deep need for genuine spiritual renewal from Christ each and every day.”
“As I have said before, it will be best for the school to make a permanent leadership change immediately and allow the Falwell family to work out these matters in private,” he added. “Prayers for all involved.”
As I have said before, it will be best for the school to make a permanent leadership change immediately and allow the Falwell family to work out these matters in private. Prayers for all involved.
— Colby Garman (@ColbyGarman) August 24, 2020
UPDATE: Jerry Falwell Jr. has since disputed his resignation from Liberty University, according to multiple sources. Politico reporter Maggie Severns claimed Monday night, “Jerry Falwell Jr. tells me he is NOT leaving his post, despite indications from Liberty that he will do so. ‘I have not resigned,’ Falwell says.”
New: Jerry Falwell Jr. tells me he is NOT leaving his post, despite indications from Liberty that he will do so. "I have not resigned," Falwell says.
— Maggie Severns (@MaggieSeverns) August 24, 2020
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