Liberty University named Jonathan Falwell as its chief pastor on Thursday, months after his disgraced brother, Jerry Falwell Jr., was ousted from his role as the school’s president following a series of scandals.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to help shepherd @libertyu in its original mission of Training Young Champions for Christ,” Falwell wrote on Twitter. “However, this responsibility will not rest with me alone. LU’s spiritual mission is the responsibility of thousands of staff, faculty and students.”
Jonathan Falwell will retain his role as senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church, where his father, televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr., was a founding pastor. He will replace Liberty University’s current chief pastor, David Nasser, who will resign at the end of the current semester. The school said Nasser left on “good terms.”
Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned from his roles as Liberty University’s president and chancellor last August. His exit followed allegations by Giancarlo Granda, a former business partner who said he engaged in a lengthy extramarital affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki.
Granda said that Falwell Jr. was aware of the relationship and had participated as a voyeur during some of their encounters. The Falwells acknowledged the affair occurred but alleged that Granda had attempted to extort them in exchange for their silence.
At the time the affair surfaced, Falwell Jr. was on an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University after a photo showed him posing with his wife’s assistant with both of their pants unzipped.
Falwell Jr. sued the university for defamation last September. He dropped the suit in December.
In an interview with Politico published last week, Falwell Jr. said he had settled a dispute with the school’s board of directors regarding his severance payment. The package was said to be worth more than $9 million.
Falwell Jr. said he expects to maintain an active presence on campus in the future.
“The employees and the board have been nothing but supportive, 100 percent. The students all want to get their picture with me. They thank me,” Falwell told Politico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.