Since he wasn’t formally accused of or admitted to any wrongdoing, former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said he will walk away with a severance package totaling $10.5 million after his resignation Monday night in the wake of a sex scandal.
Falwell, 58, told The Washington Post that he’ll get $2.5 million over the next 24 months plus another $8 million after that period in retirement benefits per a contract he signed with Liberty University in July 2019.
“The board was gracious not to challenge that,” Falwell explained. “There wasn’t any cause. I haven’t done anything.”
The Board of Trustees of Liberty University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world, announced Tuesday that they had accepted Falwell’s resignation “effective immediately” after he and his wife, Rebecca, were implicated in a sex scandal Monday.
The resignation comes after a tumultuous weekend for Falwell, during which it was first revealed on Sunday that his wife had an affair with former “pool boy” Giancarlo Granda, 29, which began eight years ago. Granda allegedly later attempted to blackmail the couple. Falwell said he was shocked to learn about his wife’s affair, but Granda contradicted that claim Monday when he said he had engaged in the affair with Falwell’s knowledge and provided audio he said is evidence supporting his claim.
“Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda told Reuters.
He claimed his liaisons with Rebecca Falwell were frequent — happening “multiple times per year” — noting that they would meet at hotels in Miami, New York, and the Falwells’ home in Virginia.
In a statement he published on Twitter Tuesday night, Granda further slammed Falwell and his wife as liars, noting that Falwell abused his position of authority at the Christian university and even sent him a photo of a female Liberty University student exposing herself.
“The Falwells would have you believe that I seduced Becki into an affair without Jerry’s knowledge, and then spent the intervening 7 years trying to extort them. Of course, the truth is, they approached me. She invited me to their hotel room. They offered me an equity partnership in a property venture. They brought me on multiple trips and vacations including to their family farm in Virginia. And as recently as last year, participated in video calls where Mrs. Falwell was naked and Jerry was watching,” Granda wrote.
Granda, the son of immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, said he was 20 when he met the Falwells while working as a pool boy at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. That relationship would eventually result in the Falwells investing in a gay-friendly youth hostel they purchased in 2013 for $4.7 million.
“The reality is Jerry Falwell is a predator. I know this because he sent me an image of a female Liberty University Student exposing herself at their farm. This is not appropriate conduct for someone who up until this week, has been charged with overseeing the well-being of thousands of vulnerable and impressionable students,” Granda said Tuesday.
Liberty University has held students to conservative Christian values on sex and sexuality, encouraging them to “know and abide by common-sense guidelines,” including monogamous relationships involving one man and one woman, according to an Online Student Honor Code.
Falwell told The Washington Post that he was not involved in the affair with Granda, a statement his wife also confirmed in the same interview while noting that she was embarrassed and she wished Christians and people in general would forgive her like Christ.
“I wish Christians, and people, would be as forgiving as Christ was,” she said.