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Evangelical homophobe Jerry Falwell Jr slapped with financial conduct probe amid pool boy sex scandal

Nick Duffy September 1, 2020
Jerry Falwell Jr, the-president of Liberty University, poses for photos with Donald Trump in 2017

Jerry Falwell Jr, the former president of Liberty University, poses for photos with Donald Trump in 2017 (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Liberty University says it is investigating the financial conduct of its former president Jerry Falwell Jr, after a sex scandal led to his dramatic fall from grace.

Falwell, a key Trump ally and one of the most powerful figures in the evangelical movement, was removed as head of the powerful private Christian university last month after he and his wife were accused of pursuing an improper relationship with a 20-year-old pool boy.

Giancarlo Granda alleges that Falwell – who is known for enforcing tyrannical policies at the Virginia university banning gay sex and LGBT+ student groups – “enjoyed” watching him and wife Becki Falwell have sex.

Falwell’s removal followed several other questions around his personal conduct, not least his decision to post a photo of himself, trousers unzipped and underwear exposed, with his arm around a young woman – as well as accusations that he liked photos of young scantily-clad Liberty students on Instagram.

Liberty University launches probe into Jerry Falwell Jr conduct.

Liberty University has now opened a broad investigation into Falwell’s tenure, which it says will review his handling of “‘financial, real estate, and legal matters” during his time in charge at the institution, which has assets worth a reported $3 billion.

Jerry Falwell Jr: How the Liberty University boss became so powerful
Now-former president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr (John Moore/Getty Images)

Liberty University’s executive committee said in a statement: “This past week challenged all of us to the core. While we had been willing to extend grace and understanding to Jerry Falwell Jr before, once the revelations about his past personal life came more fully to light, we acted swiftly and decisively to ask for his immediate resignation, which we received.

“Some may say that all the signs were there for a long time before last week. It’s certainly fair to say that there were questionable comments made, worrying behaviour, and inappropriate social media posts, but all the signs were not there until the start of last week.

“While we still didn’t know the full scope of the matter, we have learned enough about the past to know that we had no choice but to take the leadership of Liberty University in a new direction.

“We are also committed to learning the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president.

“One of the leading forensic firms in the world has been retained by Liberty University’s board of trustees to conduct a thorough investigation into all facets of Liberty University operations during Jerry Falwell Jr’s tenure as president, including but not limited to financial, real estate, and legal matters.”

The university, which is already searching for a replacement for Falwell, has also signalled that the new president will not have the same level of unchecked power – vowing to appoint a “spiritual coach” to “help ensure that every member of the university leadership fulfils his or her spiritual responsibility to live out the Christian walk expected of each and every one of us at Liberty.”

Ousted university boss insists he has ‘not broken any rules’.

Falwell put on a brave face last week as his exit was confirmed.

He told NPR: “[I am] free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last! That’s the way, I feel.”

Falwell, who insists he has “not broken any rules that apply to a staff member at Liberty”, said he is leaving “because I think I’ve done all I can do” in the post.

He added: “It’s better to leave at the top.””

Falwell’s exit deal includes a reported $10 million severance payment, which will likely soften the blow of being pushed out.

More: Becki Falwell, Giancarlo Granda, jerry falwell, Jerry Falwell Jr, liberty university

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