KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Kansas City Royals star Ben Zobrist has filed a lawsuit against his pastoral counselor for having an affair with the baseball player's wife.
The suit identifies Byron Yawn as a pastoral counselor for Zobrist and his wife, and also as the executive director of Patriot Forward Charity, a charity started by Zobrist. Court documents say Yawn was a senior pastor and elder at Community Bible Church in Nashville and was at that church for around 20 years.
Julianna Zobrist is Ben Zobrist's wife, and together they have three small children. They began attending Yawn's church in Nashville in 2005, according to court documents.
Yawn is identified as the pastor who carried out the couple's pre-marital counseling and who carried out the public dedication of their children to the church. Zobrist attended counseling sessions with Yawn over the years.
The court documents state that Yawn began having daily conversations with Julianna Zobrist in 2018, and that Yawn began pursuing an intimate relationship with her in September of that year. The documents allege that the relationship became sexually intimate in the spring of 2019 and went on for a year without Zobrist's knowledge. It even alleges the pastor and Mrs. Zobrist used burner phones to stay in communication.
The lawsuit claims Yawn exploited his knowledge of marital difficulties gained through counseling the couple to his advantage, and even counseled Mr. Zobrist to give his wife some "space" in 2019.
Court documents state it was Yawn's wife who discovered there was a burner phone and told Mr. Zobrist she believed their spouses were having an emotional affair.
It was in divorce filing documents in June of 2020 that Zobrist discovered the relationship between his wife and Yawn was physical, according to the lawsuit.
Zobrist is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for a breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Court documents were filed in Tennessee, where both the baseball player and Yawn live.
Zobrist was on the World Series Champion Royals team in 2015 before going on to win another title with the Chicago Cubs. He is not currently playing baseball.
Julianna Zobrist is a Christian pop singer.