Liberty University probes Jerry Falwell Jr.’s time as president

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Liberty University is opening an independent investigation into Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president a week after he resigned over allegations of his involvement in a sex scandal.The evangelical school board announced Monday that it is conducting a wide-ranging investigation that will include financial, real estate and legal matters.

In a statement, the board said it had retained the services of an outside firm to investigate “every facet” of the school’s operations under Falwell Jr., and that it was “determined to learn the consequences. which stemmed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former President. ”

Calls for such an investigation have multiplied since Falwell Jr. left last week from the post he had held since 2007.

Falwell Jr. officially resigned last Tuesday, after a media outlet published an interview with Giancarlo Granda, a young business partner in the Falwell family, who revealed he had had a multi-year sexual relationship with Falwell’s wife. , Becki Falwell.

Giancarlo Granda, seen on August 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. claims he had a long affair with Falwell Jr.’s wife, Becki, and that Falwell Jr. often participated as a voyeur. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Granda said Falwell Jr. participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur.

Although the Falwells admitted that Granda and Becki Falwell had been having an affair, Falwell Jr. denied any involvement. The couple allege that Granda sought to extort them by threatening to reveal the relationship unless he received substantial sums.

The couple said in a statement provided to The Associated Press on Sunday night that they support Liberty’s board of directors and “welcome any investigation because we have nothing to hide.”

Granda has denied attempting to extort the Falwells. He told the AP he currently has no plans to take legal action against them, but wants to see an independent investigation into the school.

Based on what he saw of the school’s management under Falwell Jr., Granda described it as being run “like a monarchy.”

Falwell Jr. took over the presidency of Liberty University after the death of his famous evangelist father, the Reverend Jerry Falwell Sr.

He oversaw a period of expansive growth and transformation: Liberty’s online program exploded, so did its endowment, the campus underwent a massive transformation, and athletic programs improved.

Falwell Jr. speaks before Trump’s opening address at the opening of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., May 13, 2017 (Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

Falwell Jr. has also remained in the news for a series of divisive remarks as well as for his vocal support for U.S. President Donald Trump and has been the subject of reports focusing on his business relationship.

Liberty’s statement acknowledges that Falwell Jr.’s sharpest critics have long called for a departure.

“Some may say that all the signs were there for a long time before last week,” the statement said.

“It’s certainly fair to say that there have been questionable comments, disturbing behavior and inappropriate social media posts, but not all the signs were there until the start of last week. ”

The statement also said the school is considering a separate move to reorient it towards its “spiritual mission” by creating a post in the university leadership dedicated to the spiritual guidance of other leaders, ensuring that they ” live the Christian walk expected of everyone. from us to Liberty. ”

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