Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as Liberty University president


Jerry Falwell Jr. has permanently left his position as president of the evangelical Liberty University after reports about his sex life led him to take an indefinite leave of absence.

On Monday, Reuters reported that a business partner of Falwell’s came forward to say he had a sexual relationship involving the evangelical leader and his wife for years. Giancarlo Granda alleged he was 20 when he met Jerry and Becki Falwell while working as a pool attendant at a Miami Beach hotel in March 2012. Granda told Reuters that he then began a relationship with the couple that involved him frequently having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on.

Falwell announced earlier this month that he was taking a leave of absence from the school in Lynchburg, Virginia, after posting a vacation photo that showed him with his pants unzipped and his arm around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant. Falwell, a 58-year-old attorney, apologized and deleted the post.

Liberty University is basically synonymous with the Falwell family. Falwell’s father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., founded the Christian institution about 50 years ago. The senior Falwell, who died in 2007, was a well-known Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, Moral Majority leader and political activist who helped create what is today’s religious right.

His son never became a pastor like his father, but he did follow in his footsteps by combining religious, educational and political activities. Liberty has grown into an evangelical institution that’s hugely influential in conservative politics, with more than 100,000 students enrolled ― most of them online.

Falwell is a staunch supporter of Trump, who since his 2016 campaign has divided the evangelical community between progressives speaking out against a president who does not fit their moral standards and conservatives who feel Trump’s attacks on some social issues appeal to the religious right. Trump has spoken at Liberty University several times and at one point offered Falwell the opportunity to lead the Department of Education.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Originally published