RICHMOND, Va. (NewsNation) — In a statement obtained by NewsNation from Liberty University Monday night, school officials confirm Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed to resign as president and then withdrew following media reports about the resignation.
On August 7, Liberty’s Executive Committee’s Board of Trustees said they asked Falwell to go on indefinite leave of absence, which he agreed to.
“Since that time, additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President. The Executive Committee met this morning and a conference call gathering of the full Board was planned for tomorrow,” according to the statement.
The statement goes on to explain that Falwell agreed to resign immediately as President of Liberty University on Monday but then “instructed his attorneys to not tender the letter for immediate resignation.”
The Executive Committee will move forward with its scheduled meeting on Tuesday morning followed by the full Board.
“I call upon the University community and supporters to be in prayer for the University and for all its leadership, past, present and future, as we walk with the Lord through this stormy time of transition,” said Acting President of Liberty University, Jerry Prevo.
Several news reports on Monday evening suggested Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned as president of Liberty University amid allegations related to his wife’s sexual encounters with a much younger business partner while two other conflicting reports by Politico and Virginia Business said the resignation reports are false.
According to Politico, Falwell said in a phone call Monday evening, “I have not resigned. I will be on indefinite leave.”
NewsNation reached out to Liberty University for a statement to clarify the conflicting reports.
In a text, Scott Lamb Senior Vice President of Communications & Public Engagement for Liberty University said, “Board leadership have been in discussion with Jerry Falwell and expect to be able to make a statement on Tuesday.”
On Sunday, Falwell issued a statement to The Washington Examiner publicly disclosing that his wife had an affair and saying the man involved had been threatening to reveal the relationship “to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies.”
Reuters reported that Falwell knew of his wife’s affair and participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur.
In Falwell’s statement Sunday, he said he was seeking mental health counseling after dealing with fallout from the extramarital affair. He said he was not involved in the relationship.
“Over the course of the last few months this person’s behavior has reached a level that we have decided the only way to stop this predatory behavior is to go public,” the statement said.
Falwell had already been on an indefinite leave since early August as president and chancellor of the Lynchburg university founded by his late father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr.
He took the leave after an uproar sparked by a photo he posted on social media that showed him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and arm high around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant. Falwell has said the photo was taken at a costume party during a family vacation.
Critics of the photo said it was evidence of hypocritical behavior from the leader of a university where students must follow a strict code of conduct that includes modest dress and a ban on alcohol consumption and premarital sex.
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