Liberty University says it is conducting a forensic investigation of Jerry Falwell Jr. a week after he resigned as president.
Falwell resigned last Tuesday after amid conflicting claims about a sexual relationship his wife Becki Falwell had with a business partner, The Associated Press reported. Falwell reportedly participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur.
The Lynchburg, Virginia based university on August 21 announced a paid leave of absence for Falwell and that Board Chairman Jerry Prevo would serve as acting president.
The evangelical Christian university’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of its Board of Trustees, on Monday defended its handling of the scandal and said that the university is moving forward in a new direction in addition to investigating Falwell’s tenure.
The statement said:
This past week challenged all of us to the core. 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 before last week. It’s certainly fair to say that there were questionable comments made, worrying behavior, and inappropriate social media posts, but all the signs were not there until the start of last week. While we still didn’t know the full scope of the matter, 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.
We are also committed to learning the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president. 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.
Throughout these past few weeks, we knew we were being lifted in prayer by the entire Liberty University community.
For this we are especially grateful, as we know it was by the Lord’s grace that we were able to put aside emotion and make the decisions that were necessary and essential for bringing calm to the storm. We thank all those who extended prayerful support!
“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26b
Of course, moving forward, we are very mindful that we must seek leaders who demonstrate a full commitment to the spiritual mission of Liberty University by 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.
Lastly, we are charging Jerry Prevo to use the full range of his presidential authority to implement any changes necessary to improve the ongoing operations of the University, and to enrich the spiritual mission of Liberty University, not only for its students but also for every executive, administrator, faculty member, and the entire staff, and for a prospective new president, as well. We ask for continued prayers as we all manage this transition and for a continued commitment by us all to fulfill our spiritual mission here at Liberty University today and always.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo “Jerry Falwell Jr.” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Liberty University Campus” by Liberty University.