Liberty University in Virginia announced Monday that its board had selected Jerry Prevo to serve as the University’s acting President after President Jerry Falwell Jr. was placed on indefinite leave after a controversial photo.
Prevo, a former pastor at a Baptist church in Alaska, has served as chairman of the school’s faith board since 2003, Liberty said in a news release.
“I want to thank my board members for the belief that I could entrust the responsibility of serving as Acting President during this time to Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s indefinite leave of absence,” Dr Prevo said. “Please pray for us as well as the Falwell family as we begin our academic year and so we can continue to be united in our common purpose and our faith in Christ.”;
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Falwell recently drew the wrath of conservatives, including Rep. Mark Walker, RN.C., who called for his resignation after images surfaced of him on a yacht with his arm around a woman and their unbuttoned pants.
“Jerry Falwell Jr.’s consistent behavior is horrible,” Walker shook. “As a member of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Music and former instructor @LibertyU, I am convinced that Falwell should retire.”
“None of us are perfect, but the students, the faculties, the alumni and @LUPraise do not deserve better,” he continued.
The university announced in a brief statement Friday that Falwell was taking a leave of absence. The former president of Liberty University had apologized for the photo while adding that the photo was “just for fun”.
“I apologize to everyone,” Falwell said in an interview last week with Lynchburg radio station WLNI.
He said the woman in the picture was “his wife’s assistant” who was traveling with them.
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“She is pregnant, so she can not take the pants,” he said in the interview. “And I had it with a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a long time, so I couldn’t even get my dip. And so I just take off her belly like hers.”
“She is my wife’s assistant and she is a loving heart, and I should never overtake her and embarrass her,” he continued.
Falwell ran Liberty University since 2007, when he took over from his father, the late Rev. Fr. Jerry Falwell Sr., who founded the school. He is a key figure in the Christian evangelical community and helped rally support for President Trump during his campaign.
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Prevo will take over the role immediately and expects to work from the Lynchburg campus starting next Monday.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report