Jerry Falwell Jr. Admits Wife’s Affair With Associate, Resigns From Liberty University – Then Changes Mind
The notorious president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., agreed to step down from his role at the university on Monday but changed his mind multiple times Monday.
The school said late Monday that Falwell changed his mind after seeing news reports of him stepping down, saying he “agreed to resign as its President and from its Board of Directors but following media reports about the resignation, withdrew it.”
However, he appeared to change his mind again, later telling the Wall Street Journal he sent a letter of resignation to the board of directors.
“The board put me on leave, took away my duties as prez, and that’s not permitted by my contract,” Falwell told WSJ. “And they put me on leave because of pressure from self-righteous people.”
Falwell told the outlet he was stepping down to do “what’s best for the university, and I don’t want to harm the future of the university.”
The evangelical leader told Politico Monday evening as well that he was not resigning.
“I have not resigned. I will be on indefinite leave,” Falwell said, adding that he didn’t know how reports of him resigning began.
However, one thing is clear: Liberty University wants him out of his leadership role.
In a statement on Monday, the school said that it was “clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and service as President.”
Acting President Jerry Prevo called for prayer during the transition period, saying in a statement: “I call upon the University community and supporters to be in prayer for the University and for all its leadership, past, present and future, as we walk with the Lord through this stormy time of transition.”
Falwell Jr., a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, had been on a leave of absence after a quickly-deleted social media post showed him with his arm around a pregnant woman, with both of their stomachs exposed and pants unzipped.
However, his apparent departure from Liberty University may be in connection to a years-long sexual relationship he and his wife had with a business partner.
Giancarlo Granda, the man claiming to be involved sexually with the couple, told Reuters on Monday he met the Falwells while working at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in March 2012 when he was 20 years old. He said the relationship involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell watched.
“Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda told Reuters.
A lawyer for Jerry Falwell, Michael Bowe, said the evangelicist “categorically denies” the allegations. However, in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner, Falwell acknowledged that his wife had an extramarital affair with a man matching the description of Granda, but denied any involvement.
“During a vacation over eight years ago, Becki and I met an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel and was saving up his money to go to school,” Falwell said. “Shortly thereafter, Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved,” adding that he was able to forgive her.
“I was and have always remained fully devoted to Becki and we have shared many private conversations to better understand and support each other and to strengthen our marriage,” he said.
Falwell also claimed that the unnamed man had attempted to blackmail the couple.
The man threatened to reveal the affair “to deliberately embarrass my wife, family and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies.” He continued, “over the course of the last few months this person’s behavior has reached a level that we have decided the only way to stop this predatory behavior is to go public.”
However, at the religious, conservative university, either of these sexual arrangements – whether it be Falwell or Granda’s account – are against school policy.
According to Liberty’s honor code: “Sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University.”