Former Liberty University head Jerry Falwell Jr. has decided to temporarily drop a lawsuit against the Virginia-based evangelical Christian school he once led.
Falwell had filed suit against Liberty earlier this year, accusing the Lynchburg school of harming his reputation following his recent resignation as president.
“I’ve decided to take a time out from my litigation against Liberty University, but I will continue to keep all options on the table for an appropriate resolution to the matter,” said Falwell in a statement, according to The News & Advance.
Liberty explained in a statement that “Falwell’s unilateral and voluntary dismissal was not prompted by any payments, promises, or other consideration from Liberty.”
“The University’s administration and Board of Trustees are pleased that Falwell has dropped his lawsuit and look forward to pressing onward with the work of Liberty’s President and Chancellor Search Committee to find the new leadership to succeed Falwell,” they continued.
The group Save71, a group of Liberty alumni, faculty, and students who want reform in university leadership, posted to Twitter their belief that the lawsuit had a point of validity.
“As silly as this lawsuit was, it’s important to note that Falwell was technically right about one thing: Liberty’s board of trustees should have investigated the allegations against him before asking him to resign,” tweeted the group.
“It has been more than three months since a former Liberty student alleged that Becki Falwell sexually preyed on him. [Liberty leadership] have not said or done anything about this,” they claimed.
In late October, Falwell filed a lawsuit against Liberty in the Commonwealth of Virginia Circuit Court for the city of Lynchburg, accusing the school of defamation and breach of contract.
In a statement released at the time, Falwell said he was “saddened that University officials, with whom I have shared so much success and enjoyed such positive relationships, jumped to conclusions about the claims made against my character, failed to properly investigate them, and then damaged my reputation following my forced resignation.”
“While I have nothing but love and appreciation for the Liberty community, and I had hoped to avoid litigation, I must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process,” stated Falwell.
The litigation was in regards to his resignation from his leadership role at Liberty, which the Board of Trustees of Liberty University announced in late August.
Falwell had already been on a leave of absence after posting to social media a photo of himself at a costume party on a yacht showing him wearing unzipped jeans while his hand was around the waist of a pregnant woman wearing a tank top and unzipped shorts.
Right before Falwell resigned, a 29-year-old man named Giancarlo Granda went public with accusations that he had had an affair with Falwell’s wife and alleged that Falwell not only knew of it, but “enjoyed watching from the corner of the room.”
In response, Falwell acknowledged in a statement that his wife “had an inappropriate personal relationship with” Granda, but he denied any involvement in the affair.