Ex-Chicago Cubs baseball star Ben Zobrist has accused his wife Julianna of having an affair with their Tennessee pastor and sleeping with him, according to a lawsuit according to court documents that surfaced last week. The pastor, who at one point, had given the couple marriage counseling, is accused of defrauding Zobrist's charity, where he was employed.
The 40-year-old ex-infielder, who feels doubly betrayed by his wife and the pastor, is now seeking $6 million in damages from Byron Yawn, the CEO of Forrest Crain & Co., a Nashville-area business-consulting firm. However, Neither the Zobrists or Yawn have commented publicly about the latest lawsuit.
Zobrist, a two-time World Series winner, filed the lawsuit in May through a Tennessee circuit court, according to documents obtained by the Peoria Journal Star last week. In the lawsuit Zobrist has accused his wife Julianna of having a year-long affair with Yawn back in 2019 while he was their pastor in Nashville.
Zobrist alleges that he initially believed it was only an emotional relationship but later in June 2020 discovered that his wife had actually been having an affair and sleeping with Yawn. The lawsuit mentions that the Zobrists, who married in 2005 and have three children, met Yawn more than 16 years ago through the Community Bible Church where he was a pastor.
In fact, Yawn gave the couple pre and post-marital counseling, the lawsuit says. He also gave Zobrist advice regarding anxiety and depression. However, Zobrist never imagined that his wife would end up sleeping with Yawn one day.
Yawn and Julianna started communicating more frequently since 2018. Yawn would talk to her daily through burner phones, and a sexual relationship between the two began in 2019.
Zobrist at that time had taken a four-month leave from the Cubs to address his marital problems after Robin Yawn, pastor Yawn's wife, informed Zobrist about what she believed to be only an emotional relationship between their spouses in May 2019.
Stealing His wife and Money
Not only was yawn having a sexual relationship with Julianna, during that span of time, Zobrist also lost $8 million in income, according to the lawsuit. The baseball star had told his pastor that Julianna had consulted a divorce lawyer, according to the lawsuit.
Yawn took this opportunity to start counseling Julianna, who is a popular singer and songwriter. In a text message to Yawn about his crumbling marriage, Zobrist wrote: "She used the words emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse. I was shocked. Can't be 2,000 miles away from her and kids while she's thinking that about me. I have owned every bit of my sin, but I will not own the abuse angle."
Yawn replied: "I'm sure it's like getting knocked off your feet and into your head. But I can't imagine what it feels like in this moment. Your (sic) a husband and a father first. That's who you are." He also urged Zobrist to give his wife space, according to the suit but instead entered that space.
However, it wasn't until June 2020 when Zobrist learned that his wife had a sexual relationship with their minister, according to the lawsuit. Julianna admitted that she lied to her husband about the nature of the affair in a written admission in their divorce proceedings.
This was more than a year after the two had filed for divorce. Zobrist filed for divorce in May 2019, while Julianna filed a counter-complaint in March 2020. Both cases are still pending.
That said, Yawn didn't stop there. He used his personal relationship with Zobrist to secure a leadership position at Patriot Forward, a not-for-profit organization Zobrist had begun to promote better mental health support and career development for athletes.
Before his termination in March 2019, Yawn had become the group's executive director but he had till then been fraudulently been receiving $3,500 a month salary until that May, the lawsuit claims.
Yawn's relationship with Julianna allegedly came to light after the pastor's wife, Robin Yawn, discovered the pre-paid phones the pair had been using in May 2019. Following that he was sacked.