Pool boy sex scandal gets even weirder
A former pool boy has revealed even more bizarre details about a sex scandal involving one of America's most influential religious families.
Earlier this week, Giancarlo Granda claimed he had regular sex with the wife of ultraconservative evangelical college leader Jerry Falwell Jr, while her husband watched on.
Mr Falwell - who Donald Trump called "one of the most respected religious leaders in the US" after securing his endorsement - hit back at the claims saying they were untrue. He said Mr Granda was trying to blackmail him and his wife.
Overnight, Mr Granda took to Twitter to make even more sexual claims about his former employer and business partner.
He accused Mr Falwell - the leader of conservative religious college, Liberty University - of being a "predator" who once sent him a photo of a student exposing herself at his family's farm.
In an interview with The Washington Post , Mr Falwell said he believes the photo in question was an image of one of his daughter-in-law's friends wearing "granny panties" that he insisted was not sexual.
However, Mr Granda said Mr Falwell sending him the photo is "not appropriate" behaviour for someone who, until this week, was in a position of power over thousands of college students.
"The reality is Jerry Falwell is a predator. I know this because he sent me an image of a female Liberty University student exposing herself at their farm," Mr Granda said in the statement released on Twitter.
"This is not appropriate conduct (for someone) who up until this week, has been charged with overseeing the wellbeing of thousands of vulnerable and impressionable students."
Mr Falwell told the Post that the photo was taken when he and his wife were out of town and his daughters-in-law and a friend were using their guesthouse to cook.
One of the women was video recording, and as a joke, the friend lifted up her skirt and exposed her underwear, he said.
"She had on, I don't know how to say this, granny panties," he told The Washington Post.
Mr Falwell said he sent screenshots of the image to several people because he thought it was funny. He added that he couldn't remember if he sent it to Mr Granda, who he said is a "liar" and a "criminal".
The war of words began this week after Mr Granda told Reuters he began having a relationship with the Mr Falwell's wife Becki from March 2012 until 2018.
"Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room," Mr Granda said in the interview.
He said the sexual encounters took place "multiple times per year" - and said the encounters took place at hotels in Miami and New York, and at the Falwells' home in Virginia.
WHO IS GIANCARLO GRANDA?
The former pool boy was just 20 when he met the couple. He said he was working as a pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in 2012 when he began seeing Mrs Falwell.
Mr Falwell told The Washington Examiner on Sunday he and his wife were impressed with Mr Granda's work ethic.
"During a vacation over eight years ago, Becki and I met an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel and was saving up his money to go to school," he said. "We encouraged him to pursue an education and a career and we were impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity."
According to Mr Granda's Facebook, he has since earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Florida International University and his Master's in Real Estate Finance and Development from Georgetown University.
After impressing the Falwells with his business skills, he became a partner with the couple. Mr Falwell said he and his family became close with Mr Granda.
The Falwells invested $US1.8 million in a property deal to help Mr Granda open a "gay-friendly youth hostel" in Miami Beach which Politico described as "a cesspool of vice".
However, the relationship between the parties soured. In a statement Mr Falwell said his family tried to distance themselves from Mr Granda.
"He unfortunately became increasingly angry and aggressive," he said. "Eventually, he began threatening to publicly reveal this secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies."
He added "we were doing our best to respectfully unravel this 'fatal attraction' type situation," but "it was like living on a roller coaster."
Mr Falwell claims that over the years, Mr Granda has continued to try to extort and threaten his family with increasingly "outrageous and fabricated claims" leaving them no choice but to go public with their story.
In his interview with Reuters on Monday, Mr Granda claimed that the falling out between him and the Falwells was due in part to his desire to end things with them.
Rather than seeking payment for his silence, Mr Granda said he wanted to "negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement he says he had with the couple," but it ultimately resulted in a business dispute.
Mr Granda denies the allegation of blackmail and claims he was taken advantage of.
"Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability or a combination thereof, it was this 'mindset' that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades,'' he told Reuters.
CLAIMS EMBARRASSING FOR THE FALWELLS
The revelations are particularly damaging to Mr Falwell because of his powerful position as president of ultraconservative Liberty University, where students are forced to adhere to an "honour code'' that prohibits sex outside of marriage.
The college's honour code states that "sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University".
Mr Falwell was one of the first evangelical leaders to endorse Donald Trump when he ran for president. He remained a strong supporter after the President took office in 2017.
In June, he apologised after deleting a much-criticised tweet that showed one person in black face and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.
Great honor- Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University, one of the most respected religious leaders in our nation, has just endorsed me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2016
On August 7, Liberty University's executive committee said they asked Mr Falwell to take an "indefinite leave of absence" after he posted a photo on Instagram that showed him with his pants unzipped and his stomach visible.
In the photo, Mr Falwell is holding a cup of dark liquid and has one arm around a woman whose shorts are also unzipped. In a radio interview soon afterwards, Mr Falwell said the woman was his wife's assistant.
He said the pair were at a costume party and "it was just in good fun," but added he should never have posted the photo and said, "I've apologised to everybody and I promised my kids I'm going to try to be a good boy from here on out."
Originally published as Pool boy sex scandal gets even weirder