Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. Placed on Indefinite Leave

August 8, 2020 Updated: August 11, 2020

The executive committee of Liberty University’s board of trustees voted to place Jerry Falwell Jr., the college’s president, on indefinite leave after a photograph of him with a woman was posted online.

The committee, acting on behalf of the full board, “met today and requested that 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,” Liberty University said in a statement.

Falwell Jr. agreed to take the leave of absence.

Liberty University is a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell Jr. became president in 2007, succeeding his late father, Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Falwell Jr. recently posted a picture on Instagram showing him with a woman who was not his wife. Both he and the woman had their midriffs exposed and their pants unbuttoned.

“More vacation shots,” Falwell Jr. wrote in the caption. “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht.”

The university president later deleted the photograph.

“I’ve apologized to everybody, and I’ve promised my kids I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” Falwell told WLNI, a radio station.

The woman, who is pregnant, is his wife’s assistant, he added, describing the picture as “in good fun.”

“She’s a sweetheart and I should never have put it up and embarrassed her,” he said.

Falwell received harsh criticism from some quarters over the picture.

“If you’re running the largest Christian university in America maybe don’t put photos of yourself on social media with your pants undone on a yacht – with random women in bad wigs. So gross, so hypocritical,” Meghan McCain, the daughter of late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and host on “The View,” wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) called Falwell Jr.’s behavior “appalling.”

Walker, who is an advisory board member and former Liberty instructor, called for Falwell to step down.

After Liberty announced the leave of absence, Walker said he was praying for the Falwells.

“Liberty is such an important institution to our nation, our next generation of leaders & faith. The Liberty family impacts the world every day for things that are good and righteous,” he said in a social media statement, adding: “I pray for Jerry Jr. and the Falwells, and I take solace in the Christian principle that forgiveness and redemption is available to all.”

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