Jerry Falwell Jr. says he has resigned as president of Liberty University
(CNN) -- Jerry Falwell Jr. told CNN Tuesday that he has resigned as president and chancellor of Liberty University, a day after reports that the embattled evangelical leader took part in a sexual relationship with his wife and a former hotel pool attendant.
The school said its Board of Trustees accepted Falwell's resignation, and also accepted his resignation from its Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Falwell's resignation comes after a tumultuous 24 hours filled with conflicting reports about his fate. On Monday the evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, said Falwell had agreed to resign as Liberty's president but then withdrew his resignation later that day.
"The university's heartfelt prayers are with him and his family as he steps away from his life's work," Liberty said Tuesday in a statement.
Falwell in recent years has been one of the country's most prominent evangelicals and was an early and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
But the last few months brought a series of public controversies about his behavior. On Monday, a young Miami man went public with allegations that he was involved in sexual activities with the Falwells from 2012 until 2019. The man, Giancarlo Granda, told CNN that Falwell frequently looked on while Granda had sex with Falwell's wife.
In a statement Falwell Jr. acknowledged the affair but said that he was "not involved."
"I am now dealing with things in a way that I should have done before," Falwell said, "including seeking to address the emotional toll this has taken.
Falwell's statement about the affair was issued on Sunday, a day before Reuters published a report detailing Granda's intimate relationship with the Falwells.
Granda, 28, later confirmed the details of his relationship with the Falwells to CNN.
He declined to answer further questions on the record but told Reuters that his relationship with the Falwells soured because he wanted to dissolve his ties with the couple and fell into a business dispute with them.
Falwell, in his statement, claimed Granda was trying to blackmail him and his wife. Granda denies the charge.
Falwell's other controversies
The sordid back and forth added new depth to Falwell Jr.'s remarkable fall from grace at the school founded by his late father. In June he apologized after deleting a much-criticized tweet that showed one person in black face and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.
On August 7, Liberty University's executive committee said they asked Falwell Jr. to take an "indefinite leave of absence" after he posted a photo on Instagram that showed him with his pants unzipped and his midsection visible. In the photo, Falwell is holding a cup of dark liquid and has one arm around a woman whose shorts are also unzipped.
In a radio interview soon afterwards, Falwell Jr. said the woman was his wife's assistant. He said the pair were at a costume party and "it was just in good fun," but added he should never have posted the photo and said, "I've apologized to everybody and I promised my kids I'm going to try to be a good boy from here on out."
He told CNN on Tuesday via text message, "My contract did not allow the board to put me on leave for posting a picture of my belly and the board graciously accepted that fact and accepted my resignation."
Falwell Jr. was one of the first evangelical leaders to endorse Trump when he ran for president. Conservative politicians lined up for the opportunity to address the student body at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school, and one GOP candidate announced his run for president there four years ago.
He remained a strong supporter after the President took office in 2017, irking some Liberty students and former employees who believe Trump doesn't share their values.
Monday was the first day of fall classes at the university, which was founded in 1971 by Falwell's father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a conservative Christian stalwart and founder of the Moral Majority movement. Jerry Falwell Sr. died in 2007.
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