Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns from Liberty University after day of confusing back-and-forth amid sex scandal

Jerry Falwell Jr.
(Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Jerry Falwell Jr. told ABC News late Monday that he has officially resigned from Liberty University, the conservative evangelical Christian school founded by his father, hours after flatly denying reports that he had stepped down. Earlier Monday night, Liberty University said Falwell had agreed to "resign immediately as president of Liberty University today but then instructed his attorneys to not tender the letter for immediate resignation." Falwell had been on indefinite paid leave since Aug. 7, after he posted to Instagram then deleted a mildly racy photo from a yacht costume party.

His formal resignation Monday comes amid a much more salacious scandal. On Sunday night, Falwell told The Washington Examiner that his wife, Becki Falwell, had an extramarital affair with a much younger business partner, identified elsewhere as Giancarlo Granda. He said in his statement that he "was not involved" in his wife's "inappropriate personal relationship" and claimed Granda was extorting him. Then on Monday, Reuters reported that Granda had produced evidence that Falwell was involved in his seven-year affair with Becki Falwell, in a voyeuristic capacity.

"Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room," Granda told Reuters. He shared emails, text messages, and other evidence he said backs up his version of events. Granda, now 29, said he met the Falwells when he was a pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in March 2012, and he started having sex with Becki Falwell that month, the affair lasting until 2018. Jerry Falwell is 58 and Becki Falwell, a conservative political figure in her own right, is 53.

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Granda told Reuters that the relationship soured because he tried to break things off — the opposite of Jerry Falwell's version — and said he now thinks the Falwells exploited his "immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof" when they decided he "was the ideal target for their sexual escapades" at age 20.

Liberty University has a strict code of ethics for its students, including the rule that "sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University."

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