Liberty University Jerry Falwell Jr. has agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence after a photo of him in an unzipped pant surfaced on the internet.
The private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, gave no reason for Falwell’s departure in a one-sentence announcement late Friday afternoon.
But it came after Falwell’s apology earlier this week for a since-deleted photo he posted online that showed him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and his arm around a young woman in a similar pose.
The statement said the Executive Committee of Liberty’s board of trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, met Friday and requested that Falwell take leave as president and chancellor, “to which he has agreed, effective immediately.”
An early and high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump, Falwell has served since 2007 as president of the university founded by his evangelist father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
He did not immediately return a call seeking comment. University spokesman Scott Lamb said he had no further comment.
In an interview this week with Lynchburg radio station WLNI, Falwell said the woman in the photo was his wife’s assistant and that the picture had been taken during a “costume party” while on vacation.
“Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht,” the caption of the photo said, in part.
“I promise that’s just black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”
He said the woman — who also had her midriff exposed — was pregnant, couldn’t get her pants zipped and he imitated her, saying it was all in “good fun.”
“I’ve apologized to everybody, and I’ve promised my kids … I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” he said in the interview.