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Three-time MLB All-Star and two-time World Series winner Ben Zobrist has filed a $6 million lawsuit against his former pastor Byron Yawn for allegedly defrauding Zobrist’s charity foundation. The 14-year veteran also alleges that Yawn was having an affair with Julianna Zobrist and that it started after Ben sought counseling from the pastor for anxiety and depression.
The lawsuit, filed in Nashville Circuit Court, details how the pastor served as the couple’s pre-marital counselor and even officiated the public dedication for the three Zobrist children. Ben Zobrist alleges the troubles with Yawn started in 2018 when Yawn “began secretly pursuing an intimate relationship” with Julianna. Months later, the pastor was allegedly “meeting her for sex” on a regular schedule.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Zobrist alleges Yawn was still serving as a family counselor while maintaining burner phones to contact Julianna, per the lawsuit.
The lawsuit lays out how, according to Ben Zobrist’s attorneys, Yawn was working for the MLB player’s charity while sleeping with Julianna. Yawn was collecting a $36,000 annual salary for his services, and Zobrist was throwing in an additional $10,000 a month to the pastor’s church.
Zobrist’s attorneys write in the lawsuit that Yawn “usurped the ministerial-counselor role, violated and betrayed the confidence entrusted to him by the plaintiff, breached his fiduciary duty owed to the plaintiff and deceitfully used his access as counselor to engage in an inappropriate sexual relationship with the plaintiff’s wife.”
So how did Zobrist finally figure out that his wife was cheating on him? The story goes that Yawn’s wife contacted Ben to tell him she thought something was up. One thing led to another, and Zobrist was taking a four-month leave of absence from the Cubs, which the infielder says cost him $8 million in income.
“Mr. Yawn often capitalized on the Plaintiff’s celebrity, asking him to sign autographs for his mother-in-law; requesting tickets to baseball games; hosting ‘Guys Night Out’ for the church at Mr. Zobrist’s home; (requesting) that Mr. Zobrist send personal videos to parishioners who were being baptized; and nominating Mr. Zobrist as a deacon of Community Bible Church in hopes that his celebrity would attract new parishioners and keep current parishioners,” the lawsuit reads.
As for what Julianna Zobrist is up to these days, she’s still active over on Instagram. Her bio reads: “inspirational speaker, author.” As for Ben Zobrist, he made nearly $87 million during his MLB career, and now he has a very public and explosive lawsuit on his hands.
“I’m in love with this woman. When we first started dating I knew she was going to do something special in this world for a lot of people. She has a voice that everyone knew was incredible, but this book proves the heart behind it is even more beautiful. Today is the release date for her book Pull it Off,” Ben wrote on Instagram in 2018.
Less than three years later, Ben’s detailing how his wife ripped his heart out. Ouch.