Jerry Falwell Jr. has sued Liberty University, alleging the Christian school dragged his name through the mud after he resigned as president amid a salacious sex scandal.
The lawsuit, filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court in Virginia on Wednesday, claims university officials accepted a former Miami pool boy’s “baseless accusations” that he had an extramarital affair with Falwell and his wife Becki — and “moved quickly” to destroy the evangelical leader’s reputation.
“When Mr. Falwell and his family became the targets of a malicious smear campaign incited by anti-evangelical forces, Liberty University not only accepted the salacious and baseless accusations against the Falwells at face value, but directly participated in the defamation,” the suit states.
Falwell, 58, in August left the famously ultra-conservative school started by his father, televangelist and modern religious-right co-founder Jerry Falwell Sr.
His resignation came after ex-pool boy Giancarlo Granda revealed he had a yearslong affair with Becki, and that Jerry participated by watching them have sex.
Jerry Falwell admitted that his wife had a brief affair Granda around 2012, and said that he wasn’t involved. He said the couple became the victims of repeated extortion attempts by Granda, something the pool boy denied.
In his lawsuit, Falwell claims that Liberty “turned on” him after Granda went public with the allegations, forcing his resignation.
“Liberty’s actions are antithetical to the teachings of Christ,” the suit states.
The suit also charged the school was tarnishing its own reputation “by playing right into the hands of sinister operatives with ulterior motives.”
Falwell had already been on leave from the job when the sex scandal broke — after a photo surfaced of him with his arm around a young pregnant woman while his pants were open. He has said the photo was a joke.
Shortly after Falwell left, Liberty’s board of trustees announced an independent investigation into the tenure of its disgraced former president.
The university said it had not yet been formally served with the lawsuit, and would issue a comment later on Thursday.
With Associated Press
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