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Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as president of Liberty University

Jerry Falwell Jr.resigned as president of Liberty University on Monday, saying he was blackmailed by a man who had an "inappropriate relationship" with his wife. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Jerry Falwell Jr.resigned as president of Liberty University on Monday, saying he was blackmailed by a man who had an "inappropriate relationship" with his wife. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Jerry Falwell Jr. announced his resignation as president of Liberty University on Monday, citing an alleged extortion attempt by a man who had an "inappropriate personal relationship" with his wife.

Falwell Jr., 58, issued a statement to the Washington Examiner announcing his resignation from the evangelical Christian university founded by his father in Lynchburg, Va., saying the situation has taken an "emotional toll" on him and his family.

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"My commitment to Liberty became and has remained my primary focus -- and while I am so grateful and thankful for our collective successes, I also realize in hindsight there was a toll that this took on me, which extended to my family too," he said.

Falwell Jr. said he and his wife Becki met a man who was working at a hotel where they were vacationing eight years ago and his family later included him in an investment in a local property "because he could play an active role in managing it."

The man then became close to Falwell Jr.'s family, at which point the relationship between he and Becki began.

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Falwell did not identify the man, or comment on the nature of the relationship, saying only that he was "not involved," but former Miami hotel pool attendant Giancarlo Granda told CNN he was the person referenced in Falwell's statement. Giancarlo said he met the Falwells when he was 20 years old.

Liberty had previously asked Falwell Jr. to take an "indefinite leave of absence" after he posted a photo on Instagram of himself with his pants unzipped standing next to a woman whose shorts were also unzipped.

Falwell earned a salary of almost $1 million per year as president of Liberty University in 2018, ProPublica reported.

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