Ryan Adams FBI Investigation Closed with No Charges

Alt-country turned rock artist Ryan Adams has been cleared of wrongdoing in an FBI probe for his alleged inappropriate texts to an underage girl. The allegations were first reported in The New York Times as part of an extensive probe into the performer’s personal life, and his interactions with women over his career.

In February of 2019, The New York Times detailed how Ryan Adams would allegedly dangle music industry success in front of aspiring women as a way to pursue them sexually. As part of the allegations were the revelations of an aspiring bass player named “Ava” who said she exchanged private Twitter messages, text messages, and engaged in numerous Skype calls of a sexual nature with Adams when she was between the ages of 14 and 16, including the exchange of explicit photographs.

Throughout the exchanges, Ryan Adams had asked Ava if she was above 18, at one point asking her to prove it, saying, “Do me a paranoid favor, show me you are 18.” Ava, who is now believed to be 21, never did show Adams any proof of her age, but did verbally assure him she was over 18. The lawyer for Ryan Adams at the time said that Adams “never engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage.”

Due to the allegations, the FBI opened a probe into Ryan’s behavior with Ava, according to The New York Times. However, no charges were ever filed, and no update was ever given by the FBI about the investigations. On July 13th, 2020, Saving Country Music reached out to the FBI to obtain an update on the status of the investigation. Spokesperson Tina Jagerson at the FBI said at the time, “We do not have a comment for you. Adhering to Department of Justice policy, the FBI neither confirms nor denies any investigation.”

But according to a recent report by Page Six, an individual inside the FBI confirmed, “Ultimately, the FBI found no evidence that would support charging Ryan with a crime, and closed its investigation, without charges, in the fall of 2019.”

Along with the accusations from Ava, numerous other women accused Ryan Adams of harassment and other inappropriate behavior, including ex-wife and actress Mandy Moore who says Adams was psychologically abusive during their relationship. At the time of the initial report from The New York Times, Ryan Adams admitted to some wrongdoing, but said, “the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false.”

The article came at the height of the #MeToo movement, and inspired alt-country artist Lydia Loveless to come out publicly about harassment she had experienced at the hands of the partner of Bloodshot Records co-owner Nan Warshaw, which resulted in Warshaw leaving the label. Bloodshot Records was one of the early labels for Ryan Adams.

Since The New York Times report, Ryan Adams has offered numerous apologies, including one in July of 2020 where he said in part, “There are no words to express how bad I feel about the ways I’ve mistreated people through my life and career. All I can say is that I’m sorry.” But many characterized the apology as self-serving and empty, while Mandy Moore said she should have received an apology in private, which Ryan Adams reportedly later did.

The fallout from The New York Times story resorted in Ryan Adams canceling a scheduled tour in 2019, and delaying the release of a new album. Adams did release the album called Wednesdays on December 11th, 2020, to little recognition from the press or industry.

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