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Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as Liberty University president amid sex scandal

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.

15 PHOTOSJerry Falwell Jr. – Liberty UniversitySee GalleryJerry Falwell Jr. – Liberty UniversityJerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation with Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Donald Trump Jr., right, speaks as Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. listens during a panel discussion at a Liberty University Convocation, Wednesday, Nov.13, 2019, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)Corrects to Becki not Becky – FILE -This Wednesday Nov. 28, 2018 file photo shows Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., right, and his wife, Becki during after a town hall at a convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Falwell Jr. says he is seeking help for the “emotional toll” from an affair his wife had with a man who he says later threatened his family. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr., left, and political analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle, right, listen as Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a Liberty University Convocation, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)DAVENPORT, IA – JANUARY 30:Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) joins Jerry Lamon Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, for a campaign rally at the Adler Theatre on January 30, 2016 in Davenport, Iowa. Trump is in Iowa trying to gain support in front of the state’s February 1 caucuses.(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21:President of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)US President Donald Trump (L) and President of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr. listen to a song during Liberty University’s commencement ceremony May 13, 2017 in Lynchburg, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski(Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)George Rogers, a retired Liberty University vice president and a veteran of World War II, second right, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation with Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, left, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, right, in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 14: Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. introduces Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before Sanders’ speech at Liberty University’s Convocation in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, receives a Liberty University jersey from Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, left, talks to Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, listen to a prayer during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, listen to a prayer during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Sanders now leads his Democratic rival former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by double digits in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states in where votes will be cast in 2016 to decide the party’s presidential nominee. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 14: Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. presents a sports jersey to Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before Sanders’ speech at Liberty University’s Convocation in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Lynchburg, VA – Jerry Falwell, Jr.president and chancellor of Liberty University introduces the convocation speaker in the Vines Center, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.(Photo by Norm Shafer/For the Washington Post)Up Next

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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.

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