Nashville mayor admits affair with security chief - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Nashville mayor admits affair with security chief

Mayor Megan Barry (WSMV) Mayor Megan Barry (WSMV)
Metro Police Sgt. Robert Forrest Metro Police Sgt. Robert Forrest

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has admitted that she had an affair with the former head of her security detail, according to a statement released by the Mayor's office on Wednesday.

"Today I acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail," Barry said in a statement.

“I accept full responsibility for the pain I have caused my family and his. I am so sorry to my husband Bruce, who has stood by me in my darkest moments and remains committed to our marriage, just as I am committed to repairing the damage I have done.”

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Sgt. Rob Forrest, who has been in charge for the last three mayor’s security details, submitted his retirement letter on Jan. 17, effective on Jan. 31.

Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson was aware of Forrest's retirement letter, but did not know of the affair with Barry, according to a statement from the police department.

"Chief Anderson has nothing to add to what Mayor Barry has already said and will say later this evening. While he knew that Sgt. Forrest gave notice of his retirement on January 17, he was unaware of the issue involved until yesterday," the statement from the police department read.

The News 4 I-Team had reported there were several questions raised on Wednesday about the relationship between Barry and Forrest.

The News 4 I-Team has heard from multiple sources – Metro Council members, former Council members and lawyers – that Forrest’s resignation from the police force after 31 years was tied to his relationship with Barry.

News 4 contacted Penny Forrest, Rob Forrest’s wife, on Wednesday afternoon. She referred questions to her attorney.

When asked whether her husband had a relationship with Barry, she responded, ‘You need to ask that question to Mayor Barry.”

RELATED DOCUMENTS: Mayor Megan Barry's travel schedule | Travel expenses for Mayor Megan Barry and Sgt. Rob Forrest | Mayor Megan Barry's calendar - Jan. 1, 2017-Jan. 26, 2018 | Sgt. Rob Forrest's retirement letter | Sgt. Rob Forrest's statement (1/31/18)

The Mayor’s office sent a statement shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday confirming the extramarital affair.

"God will forgive me, but the people of Nashville don’t have to,” Barry said in the release. “In the weeks and months to come, I will work hard to earn your forgiveness and earn back your trust.”

Barry offered an apology to the citizens of Nashville in the statement.

"I also must apologize to the people of Nashville who elected me to serve as your mayor. I knew my actions could cause damage to my office and the ones I loved, but I did it anyway. I must hold myself to the highest standard of which the voters deserve to expect.  Please know that I’m disappointed in myself but also understand that I’m a human and that I made a mistake,” Barry said in the statement. 

"In 2015, I was elected to serve as Mayor of Nashville on a platform that included building more affordable housing, improving public education, and promoting better transportation options. We have made progress on these fronts – but there is more to be done. While I regret any distractions that will be caused by my actions, I remain firmly committed to working hard to serve the people of Nashville now and into the future.”

Forrest released a statement late Wednesday night through his attorney, David Raybin.

"I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one. This has caused great pain for my wife, my family, friends and colleagues. At no time did I ever violate my oath as a police officer or engage in actions that would abuse the public trust," the statement read.

Forrest served 14 years in supervising the mayor's protective details and was on the police force for more than 31 years.

"I have recently retired from the police department," Forrest said in the statement. "I hope that the media and public respect my privacy and that of my family as I seek to rebuild the trust of the ones I love the most."

The News 4 I-Team found that Barry and Forrest took nine trips together – just the two of them – last year. Some of those locations included Athens, Greece, San Francisco and New York, all tied to leadership or work-related trips.

On the nine trips when Barry and Forrest traveled alone, taxpayers paid more than $14,000 in travel costs.

Forrest has earned nearly $150,000 in overtime since 2015 when Barry took office.

Forrest worked in Metro's Vice Division before taking charge of the security detail for former Mayor Bill Purcell. He continued in that role through Karl Dean's term and with Barry.

Anytime you saw Barry at a public event, Forrest was there in the background.

He is well known for his friendly demeanor but serious attention to protecting the heads of the city.

Forrest submitted his retirement letter on January 17 and said January 31 would be his final day on the force.

“I would like to inform you that I am retiring from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on January 31, 2018. I have had an outstanding career and have enjoyed coming to work each day. I plan to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Forrest wrote.

“I truly appreciate the support given to me during my 31 plus years of service to the MNPD.”

Metro Police said there was no internal investigation into Forrest.

The News 4 I-Team has filed multiple open records requests for Barry and Forrest’s travels together and any spending between the two.

The News 4 I-Team has been speaking with Barry’s staff. They will not elaborate on the questions being raised into their relationship.

News 4 has examined Forrest’s personnel file at the police department, which indicated no problems. Barry even praised his work in a 2016 letter.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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