Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an indefinite leave of absence from his post as president of the country’s largest Christian college just days after he posted a provocative photo of himself with his pants unzipped.
“The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, met today and requested Jerry Falwell, Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately,” a statement from the university’s board reads. He was appointed to the position after the death of his father in 2007.
Falwell faced controversy and criticism after posting a photo of himself on a yacht with a woman he called his wife’s assistant. The two appeared with their shirts rolled up and stomachs exposed, and Falwell’s pants were unzipped, revealing his underwear. He ultimately deleted the photo and apologized.
“I promised my kids I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” he said Wednesday during a radio interview, insisting that the photo was “just in good fun.”
But the apology wasn’t enough for Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), who once taught at Liberty University, where students are told to dress “modestly.”
“Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behavior is appalling,” Walker wrote on Twitter. “I’m convinced Falwell should step down.”
Falwell, an outspoken Trump supporter, has been plagued by a string of controversies in recent months. An investigation by Politico magazine accused him of going into graphic detail about his sex life with employees of Liberty, the largest Christian college in the world. One school official said Falwell is “very, very vocal” about his sex life, and “all he wanted to talk about was how he would nail his wife, how she couldn’t handle [his penis size], and stuff of that sort.”
Politico’s investigation also accused him of funneling university resources into real-estate deals that benefited his family and associates, as well as awarding school contracts to his pals. He’s denied any wrongdoing.
The evangelical leader also made the controversial decision to have all Liberty students return to campus in the fall semester despite the coronavirus pandemic and public health experts warning against the move.
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