Jerry Falwell Jr, the former president of Liberty University who resigned in August amidst a highly publicised sex scandal, has filed a lawsuit against his former employer.
It claims that university officials at the private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, defamed him by siding with the former business associate who made the explosive allegations.
In his lawsuit, Falwell claims that Liberty failed to properly investigate the claims made by Giancarlo Granda, a former pool boy who alleges he had a year-long affair with Jerry's wife, Becki Falwell, with the involvement of Jerry himself.
Falwell's complaint insists that this is patently false, and that the affair “unbeknownst" to the former Liberty president. The lawsuit alleges that by requesting Falwell's resignation immediately after Granda's story claims were published, Liberty officials showed themselves to be putting its weight behind one side of the story.
"By forcing Mr Falwell’s resignation from Liberty immediately following Granda’s false and defamatory statements, Liberty sent the unmistakable message to the public that Granda’s statements were, in fact, true,” the complaint reads, adding that "not one member of the Board or the Executive Committee” personally asked Falwell about Granda's allegations prior to requesting his resignation.
The suit also alleges that Granda was involved with an anti-Trump lobby group called The Lincoln Project - Granda denies this.
"There is no connection to the Lincoln Project," he said in a statement on the matter. "I have received no financial compensation – none – for coming forward and telling the truth about the long-term affair with Becki, Jerry’s knowledge and participation in the affair; Jerry’s hypocrisy; and the Falwells’ abuse of power."
The Lincoln Project added that it "had nothing to do with the public finally learning about the true character of the Falwell family".
Falwell Jr's suit insists that the university "directly participated in the defamation" and accepted "the salacious and baseless accusations against the Falwells at face value".
Following his resignation, Liberty announced that an investigation would be launched into Falwell Jr's tenure, as president, including the main financial, real estate and legal matter in which he was involved.