The mayor of Nashville resigned on Tuesday after pleading guilty to felony theft of property over $10,000 while having an extramarital affair with her former police bodyguard. Her former bodyguard also pleaded guilty to criminal theft on Tuesday.
Between March 2016 and January 2018, then-Nashville Mayor Megan Barry illicitly misused city funds by hiring her lover, former Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Sgt. Robert Forrest, as her bodyguard and taking city-paid trips with him while paying him overtime. Barry and Forrest are both married, but Forrest’s wife recently filed for divorce.
According to an affidavit, the investigation into Barry’s affair found 260 deleted chats between Forrest’s phone and Barry’s phone number as well as 35 deleted call logs. Investigators were also concerned whether the affair influenced Barry’s decision not to support a civilian review of the police department.
On Tuesday, Barry and Forrest pleaded guilty to felony theft and were both sentenced to three years of probation. Barry agreed to reimburse the city $11,000, while Forrest agreed to pay $45,000 restitution to the city.
As Barry steps down, Vice Mayor David Briley will take responsibility of Barry’s duties in office. A special election to choose a new mayor is scheduled for August 2.
Responsible for supervising the mayor’s security detail for more than three administrations, Forrest has retired. According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the case remains active and is ongoing.
“While my time as your mayor concludes today, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people shall never come to an end,” Barry wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
“It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor.
“Thank you in advance for the support that I am sure you will give to Mayor Briley in the days and weeks ahead.”