Jerry Falwell Jr. told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s resigned as president of Virginia’s Liberty University a day after reports surfaced that he had resigned, then changed his mind, amid a slew of controversies.
Update 2:40 p.m. EDT Aug. 25: Falwell confirmed his decision to the AP, which he said he made due to controversies about his wife’s sexual involvement with a younger business partner and in the wake of a social media photo that caused an uproar.
According to university officials, Falwell offered to resign Monday after the Reuters news agency published an interview with a man who said that he had a yearslong sexual relationship with Becki Falwell and that Jerry Falwell participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur. After media reports began to surface about his exit, Falwell changed course and asked his attorneys not to tender his resignation, according to Liberty University.
Update 1 p.m. EDT Aug. 25: Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed to resign as president and chancellor of Virginia’s Liberty University on Monday, but later changed his mind after media reports of his decision surfaced, school officials said in a statement.
University officials said the school’s Board of Trustees asked Falwell to go on an indefinite leave of absence on Aug. 7, following an uproar over a photo he posted on social media, and then deleted, showing him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and arm high around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant.
“Since that time, additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President,” officials said Monday. “The Executive Committee met this morning and a conference call gathering of the full Board was planned for tomorrow.”
Falwell initially agreed to resign from his post, but later told his attorneys not to tender his letter for resignation, school officials said.
“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,” acting school President Jerry Prevo said.
Original report: Two weeks after being placed on a leave of absence, Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned as president and chancellor of Liberty University in the wake of a wave of personal scandals.
Falwell initially denied reports Monday evening that he had agreed to resign. Liberty University issued a statement clarifying the reports. By late Monday night, Falwell confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that he had just submitted his resignation letter.
The Associated Press reported that Falwell released a statement saying he is seeking help for the “emotional toll” of an affair his wife had with a man, Falwell claims, later threatened his family.
The resignation announcement came on the first day of fall classes for the evangelical university, founded in 1971 by his father, the late Jerry Falwell Sr.
The embattled younger Falwell was placed on paid leave Aug. 7 by the university’s board of trustees after he posted a photo on social media deemed provocative by Liberty’s leadership and in direct conflict with the school’s code of conduct.
-The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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