Former Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist filed a lawsuit last month accusing his former pastor of having an affair with his wife and defrauding his charity.
Yahoo Sports reports that Zobrist alleges Byron Yawn, who initially started out as a marital counselor for Ben and his wife Julianna, was “secretly pursuing an intimate relationship” one year before he “began meeting her for sex” in the spring of 2019. That same year, Yawn was reportedly abusing his power as a counselor by suggesting Zobrist “give his wife some space” in an effort to continue their affair.
Yawn also attempted to secure a bigger role in Zobrist’s Patriot Forward charity, which the former ballplayer alleges in the suit was used “as an excuse to meet with the plaintiff’s wife.” Yawn submitted a budget proposal in September 2018 that gave him an annual salary of $36,000. Even though Yawn was fired in March 2019, Zobrist alleges the former pastor “somehow continued to fraudulently receive salary checks until May of 2019 and he cashed these checks with full knowledge that his position had been terminated.”
Zobrist filed for divorce in 2019, alleging he spent $8 million trying to fix his marriage. Julianna confessed to the affair with Yawn last year.
Zobrist claims he was also giving $10,000 every month to the Community Bible Church where Yawn served as senior pastor, and once shelled out between $10,000 and $15,000 on what turned out to be a “pastoral trip” for Yawn’s family. Zobrist is accusing Yawn of breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages.
“At the end of the day, a woman has the right to choose who she wants to be with,” Yawn’s attorney Christopher Bellamy told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re in the middle of litigation, so I can’t really comment further at this point, but that’s what it boils down to.”