Falwell Jr claims wife's illicit affair and 'fatal attraction' situation threatened to ruin family

Giancarlo Granda claims both Falwells participated in the affair.

Jerry Falwell Jr. purportedly agreed on Monday to resign as president of Liberty University following a series of personal scandals that have overshadowed his tenure as head of the conservative Christian college in Virginia.

An official at the school, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed Falwell Jr. had agreed to step down - something that would be made official Monday evening -  but Falwell Jr. appeared to flip the narrative at the last minute and told multiple media outlets he would not go.

The murky back and forth just added to an already muddled set of circumstances that has come to define Falwell Jr. as of late.

Falwell Jr., who took over the post from his late father in 2007, had been on thin ice following allegations he broke the evangelical university's code of conduct after posting a picture of himself with a young woman on a yacht whose zipper was undone.

However, opposition to his presidency came to a dramatic head after a Miami man claimed he had been in a sexual affair with Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki for years.

Falwell Jr. said he and his wife befriended the man and allegedly went into business with him but that the relationship had soured after the man, identified as Giancarlo Granda, became obsessive and that the situation turned into a "fatal attraction."

Falwell Jr. claimed Granda had threatened to expose the affair his wife had eight years ago and that the threat triggered an emotional roller coaster for his family ahead of his suspension from his collegiate post earlier this month.

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On Friday, the Virginia-based private university said it was investigating "rumors and claims" about Falwell Jr.

The 58-year-old father's fall from grace has sent shockwaves through the school.

A formal announcement from Liberty University on his exit is expected later Monday, according to a school official.

Late last week, Falwell Jr. released a lengthy statement about the infidelity of his wife and the situation that ensued, telling the Washington Examiner, "I'm just tired of it. It's got to end."

In the statement, Falwell Jr. claimed he forgave his wife but said over time the Miami pool attendant she allegedly had an affair with "became increasingly angry and aggressive" and "began threatening to publicly reveal his secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies."

Falwell Jr. added that, "we were doing our best to respectfully unravel this 'fatal attraction' type of situation to protect our family and the University."

During his personal time with his family, Falwell Jr. claims they were all "suffering in silence" while "simultaneously trying to manage and deal with this increasingly threatening behavior, which only worsened over time."

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"It was like living on a roller coaster," he said.

Falwell Jr. said his family tried to remain friendly with Granda but that threatening texts and demands for large amounts of money forced them to cut off the relationship.

"While we tried to distance ourselves from him over time, he unfortunately became increasingly angry and aggressive," Falwell Jr. said.

Granda described the relationship very differently.

He told Reuters that he was just 20 when he met the Falwells while working as a pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in March 2012.  He also claimed he had a sexual relationship that involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while her husband looked on.

"Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda said in an interview. Now 29, he described the meet-ups as frequent – “multiple times per year” – and said they took place at hotels in Miami and New York, and at the Falwells’ home in Virginia.

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Granda showed Reuters multiple emails, text messages and other evidence that he says prove the sexual nature of his relationship with the couple, who have been married since 1987.

His friendship with the Falwells took a turn in part because he wanted to dissolve his ties with the couple and fell into a business dispute with them over a Florida youth hostel.

Calls to the Falwell family as well as Liberty University for comment were not returned.

Falwell Jr.'s late father founded the Lynchburg, Va. school with hopes or turning it into the evangelical equivalent of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

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Falwell Jr., who did not follow in his father's footsteps into the ministry, took over Liberty in 2007. During that time, Falwell Jr. worked to shore up Liberty's finances, overhaul its campus with more than $1 billion in construction projects, grow its endowment and increase its online enrollment.

According to The Associated Press, Liberty's net assets topped $2.3 billion according to its most recently available tax filings, up from less than $220,000 in 2008.