NASHVILLE, TN – Mayor Megan Barry answered questions Tuesday night after admitting to an affair with her bodyguard, Robert Forrest, a MNPS Sergeant. Forrest was part of Barry’s security detail on trips around the country as well as to Athens, Greece and Paris, France.
“I had a consensual relationship with a member of my security detail and I am deeply sorry for that. I am embarrassed. I am sad. I am so sorry for the pain I have caused my family and his family. I know God will forgive me but Nashville doesn’t have to and I hope I can earn their trust and I can earn your trust back and that you will forgive me,” Barry said.
The Mayor said she was not going to resign but would continue to move her agenda forward and that she was going to work things through with her husband of many years, Bruce Barry.
She referred questions about Forrest’s recent resignation to Police Chief Steve Anderson. Barry said she and Forrest did not have sex on the city’s dime.
Exactly when and where they had sex remains a mystery. It did not come up in the press conference although the Mayor said she would cooperate with any investigation about the use of city funds related to Forrest’s assignment as chief of Barry’s security team.
The Tennessean reported that Forrest made more than $50,000 in overtime as chief of the Mayor’s security team and earned more than $7,000 in overtime on trips with the mayor. “It was all city business,” Barry told the Tennessean.
Barry and Forrest are both married and Barry said when both of the spouses discovered the affair, she decided to make a public apology. Barry didn’t say when the affair ended but said, “Yes, it’s over. Yes, it’s over.”
The Tribune asked Barry if she wasn’t using a double standard because Forrest resigned for his conduct whereas Barry has refused.
“What we did was wrong. I’m not running away from that,” she said.
“Aren’t you claiming an extra right for women who can do stuff and be forgiven, if you want to use those words, but essentially not being held responsible whereas a man would?”
“I’m being held responsible. I’m right here right now asking for forgiveness and taking full responsibility for exactly what I did,” Barry said.
District 2 Councilman DeCosta Hastings was driving when he heard the news.
“It was a big poke and felt like a stab and also hurt for their families. God can heal all wounds. It’s going to take some time but we as elected officials of this city are going to make sure that things are handled appropriately from this point forward,” he said.
Reporters asked Barry a number of questions about the affair. Barry said while it was wrong, she did not violate any city rules and wanted to win back peoples’ trust in her.
“She has said she isn’t (resigning),” said At-large Councilwoman Erica Gilmore. “I can’t make that decision. That is something she has to do. As a council member what I have to do is to stay focused on the issues, but that part has been resolved,” she said.