Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has apologized for having an affair with a police officer who served as the head of her security detail.
Barry, elected as Nashville’s first female mayor in 2015, admitted to beginning a relationship with Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. not long after being elected. Forrest had announced his upcoming retirement on Jan. 17 and officially retired from the police force just hours before Barry disclosed the affair to the media on Wednesday.
“Today I acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail,” Barry wrote 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.”
The relationship was revealed after a television station began an investigation into Barry’s use of taxpayer money. According to CBS affiliate WTVF, Forrest had served in the security detail for former mayors Bill Purcell and Karl Dean, but his overtime pay increased considerably since Barry’s election.
Records show that Forrest had accompanied Barry on dozens of trips since her election, including nine on which he accompanied her alone. These trips amounted to around $33,000 in expenses and over $50,000 in overtime pay for Forrest in 2017. Nevertheless, Barry contended that she has had a “very aggressive schedule,” noting that the trips were all business-related.
Barry told the people of Nashville that she remains “firmly committed to working hard to serve the people of Nashville now and into the future,” promising that she will “work hard to earn [their] forgiveness and earn back [their] trust.”