LYNCHBURG, Va. — Liberty University announced on Monday that it has hired “one of the leading forensic firms in the world” to investigate “all facets” of the school’s operations throughout Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president, including financial, real estate and legal dealings.
“This past week challenged all of us to the core,” the Executive Committee said in a statement on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “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,” it continued, “… but all the signs were not there until the start of last week.”
While there are still some unknowns about exactly what transpired, “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,” the committee said.
The university remarked that it seeking to understand the consequences of the lack of “spiritual stewardship” on the part of Falwell and has consequently hired an independent organization to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of Falwell’s tenure.
“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 school stated.
It advised that, going forward, Liberty University wants to ensure that its leaders reflect the spiritual mission of the institution by their “words, actions and example.”
“That is why, in addition to starting a search for a new president, we are also reviewing options to establish a new role in the top leadership of the university for someone who will serve as a spiritual coach, mentor, and guide to help ensure that every member of the university leadership fulfills his or her spiritual responsibility to live out the Christian walk expected of each and every one of us at Liberty,” the committee outlined.
Acting President Jerry Prevo, a former pastor, has also been tasked with improving university operations “enrich[ing] the spiritual mission” of Liberty University.
As previously reported, Falwell, the son of the late Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, Sr., resigned from Liberty University last week after acknowledging that his wife had a years-long affair with a young business partner.
He said, however, that the man, now 29-year-old Giancarlo Granda, tried to extort the couple and became threatening. He asserted that he had no part in the affair, while Granda claims that Falwell sat in the room or watched from a camera while sexual encounters happened over the course of seven years.
Granda released a recorded phone call in which Becki Falwell expressed that she struggled with the idea of him dating other girls, even to the point of tears, and Jerry Falwell Jr. remarked, “You’re going to make her jealous, Gian.”
Falwell had already been placed on indefinite leave two weeks earlier after he posted — and then deleted — a vacation photo to Instagram where he mimicked his wife’s pregnant assistant, but was photographed knowing that his pants were unzipped.
Falwell told WLNI “MorningLine” earlier this month that neither he or the assistant were able to button their pants.
“She’s pregnant, so she couldn’t get her pants up,” Falwell stated. “I had on a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a long time, so I couldn’t get mine zipped either.”
“So, I just put my belly out like hers,” Falwell continued. “I should never have put it (the photo) up and embarrassed her.”
The photograph was taken at a “Trailer Park Boys”-themed outing on a yacht, where the Falwells were on vacation.