Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Resigns After Pleading Guilty To Theft

Her resignation comes a month after she admitted to an extramarital affair while in office.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (D) has resigned from office after pleading guilty on Tuesday to felony theft of property over $10,000 after being accused of misusing public funds during an affair with a former police bodyguard.

Barry’s plea came with an agreement to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years’ unsupervised probation for the misuse of city funds between March 2016 and January 2018, prosecutors said. If she completes the agreement, the charges can be dismissed and expunged.

Former Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Sgt. Robert Forrest, who was accused of financially benefiting from the affair with Barry and resigned shortly after, also pleaded guilty to criminal theft on Tuesday, the Tennessean reported. He agreed to pay $45,000 restitution to the city.

A charging document, obtained by the Tennessean, did not detail how Barry’s restitution was calculated. The couple’s relationship, however, had sparked concern on whether Forrest’s six-digit overtime pay over the last three years was legitimate and whether their affair factored into her decision not to support a civilian review board of the force.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, seen in 2017, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony theft of property over $10,000.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, seen in 2017, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony theft of property over $10,000.

Prior to Tuesday, the mayor’s office had denied any suggestions that she misused travel time or taxpayers’ money because of their relationship.

At a morning press conference, Barry thanked her supporters who reached out to her “during these many difficult and trying months,” as well as Nashville’s citizens and her staff.

“I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or otherwise detract from all of the great work that they do,” she said in a statement.

Vice Mayor David Briley is expected to be sworn into office as her replacement.

This development comes roughly a month after she admitted to an affair with Forrest.

Both Barry and Forrest are married, though Forrest’s wife recently filed for divorce. Barry’s husband, Bruce Barry, has expressed ongoing support for her on social media.

News of the scandal led Nashville’s City Council to create a special committee to determine whether she had misused public funds as a result of the affair.

The Tennessean’s editorial board encouraged her resignation in a piece published last week. It followed an earlier editorial by the news outlet titled: “Megan Barry betrayed Nashville.”

Barry became the city’s first female mayor when sworn into office in 2015.

This story has been updated following news of Barry’s resignation.