Nashville, TN – Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced her resignation from office at a press conference on Tuesday morning, shortly after pleading guilty to felony theft of property over $10,000 related to her affair with her former police bodyguard.
Barry agreed to pay the city of Nashville $11,000 in restitution, and serve three years’ probation, as the terms of her sentence, according to The Tennessean.
The mayor’s quick downfall began when her extramarital affair with her city-assigned bodyguard, Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Sergeant Robert Forrest, became public at the end of January.
Initially, she denied having conducted her affair with the police officer on city time. But then investigators found nude photos of the mayor on 58-year-old Sgt. Forrest’s phone that eventually led to a plea deal.
“We had an affair, and it was wrong, and we shouldn’t have done it,” Barry told The Tennessean when the affair was first exposed. “He was part of my security detail, and as part of that responsibility, I should have gone to the [police] chief, and I should have said what was going on, and that was a mistake.”
Department records showed that the mayor’s police bodyguard made an exorbitant amount of overtime while he was protecting her.
Sgt. Forrest averaged $34,000 in overtime pay during each of the last three years that Dean was in office. His overtime wages increased to just under $60,000 once Barry got into office, and he made a whopping $75,000 in overtime alone during fiscal year 2017, WTVF reported.
According to The Tennessean, Sgt. Forrest frequently accompanied Barry on city business trips as part of his regular duties. But on nine occasions, no other members of the office traveled with Barry and Sgt. Forrest, to include a trip the pair made to Greece in September of 2017.
“Those trips were all business related, and those trips he traveled with me as my detail, which is standard policy with the police department to have detail with me wherever I am,” she told The Tennessean.
“I’m very embarrassed, and I’m deeply ashamed, and I’m very sorry,” Barry told WTVF. “The affair was between two middle-aged consenting adults, and it was a mistake to do this. And I am deeply sorry.”
“I know that God’s going to forgive me, but the citizens of Nashville don’t have to,” she said. “My hope is that I can earn their forgiveness, and I can earn back their trust, and we can do the great work for this city that Nashville deserves.”
In a rare move, District Attorney Glenn Funk personally handled the case against the mayor.
Following Barry’s guilty plea, Funk told The Tennessean that “had this case gone to trial, witnesses are available who would testify that in March 2016 and January 2018 Megan Barry caused over 10K but less than 60K in Metro Nashville city funds to be expended unlawfully on Mr. Robert Forrest.”
Sgt. Forrest abruptly retired on Jan. 30, after a 31-year career with the department. His overtime pay from “protecting” the mayor was used to calculate his retirement income.
Barry offered her resignation to the city at a press conference immediately following her court appearance.