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Nashville mayor pleads guilty to felony theft and resigns amid sex scandal

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigned as part of a plea bargain for felony theft over $10,000 related to her affair with her former head of security. (Image source: Tennessean video screenshot)

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigned Tuesday after admitting to felony theft. The admission came following a sex scandal involving former police Sgt. Rob Forrest, who was head of her security.

Barry, a Democrat who has served since 2015, admitted on Jan. 31 to a nearly two-year extra-marital affair with Forrest. Forrest retired that same day.

The announcement made during a press conference followed Barry's guilty plea in court 30 minutes earlier to felony theft over $10,000 and less than $60,000 related to her affair with her former bodyguard, the Tennessean reported. Her resignation, effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, was part of her plea bargain.

What did she say?

Barry made her three-minute announcement to a packed room.

"While my time of mayor today concludes, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people will never come to an end," Barry said. "No one is as excited about this city and it's bright and limitless future as I am."

"It has been my honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have the blessing and the opportunity to be your mayor," she continued. "I thank you in advance for the support that I am sure you will give Mayor Briley in the weeks and the months ahead. God bless this wonderful city. I love you, Nashville."

The 54-year-old mayor's resignation makes her the first Nashville mayor in nearly 100 years to leave office before the expiration of his or her term.

What happened?

Late last month, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigators wrote in an affidavit that Forrest, 58, had taken nude photos of Barry on his city-issued phone during official city trips.

Investigators also said they discovered hundreds of deleted chats between the pair and found evidence of two state crimes on Barry's phone.

A report published last month in the Tennessean showed Forrest escorted the mayor to hot yoga classes, late-night concerts, sporting events, and restaurants. Forrest clocked hundreds of hours of overtime accompanying the mayor to those events.

At times, he even earned overtime when there were no events on Barry's calendar.

The couple traveled on at least 10 taxpayer-funded trips together between mid-2016 through the end of 2017. On some trips, including to Greece and San Francisco, the mayor stayed longer than was necessary for official business travel.

On Feb. 28, an op-ed published by the Tennessean's editorial board called for Barry to resign.

So what else was in Barry's plea agreement?

Barry received three years of probation and will reimburse the city for $11,000 in unlawful expenses.

What about Forrest?

The 31-year officer, who served 14 years as the leader of the mayoral security detail, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to property theft.

Forrest was sentenced to three years of probation and must reimburse $45,000 to the city for overtime and salary he received while not performing his duties.

Are they still involved in an affair?

The affair began in the spring of 2016, and according to Barry, it was over by the time she announced it in January. She would not give an exact date.

Barry is married to Vanderbilt University professor and Nashville Scene columnist Bruce Barry. They had one son, Max, who died from a drug overdose in July.

Forrest's wife has filed for a divorce.

Who will replace Barry as mayor?

Vice Mayor David Briley will be sworn-in at the courthouse on Tuesday and will become Nashville's eighth Metro mayor.

One last thing…
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