Police Can’t Pursue Charges Against Kirt Webster Due to Statute of Limitations
Nashville police will not be able to pursue criminal charges against PR executive Kirt Webster following ex-country artist Austin Rick's claims of sexual molestation and abuse due to a statute of limitations. However, charges related to other allegations may still be filed, and Rick could still file a civil lawsuit.
In a Nashville Scene story published on Tuesday (Oct. 31), Rick accused Webster of sexually molesting and abusing him, paying Rick to keep quiet and threatening to sabotage Rick's career if he didn't. In a statement via a spokesperson, Webster denies Rick's claims, noting that Webster, "as a single adult ... has had multiple relationships over the course of his professional life, all of which have been consensual ... includ[ing] a brief relationship with Mr. Rick." Nashville police spoke with Rick on Thursday (Nov. 2), the Tennessean reports, but because more than eight years -- the statute of limitations for sex crimes violations -- have passed, they cannot press charges.
"The conversation with this individual contained allegations that cannot be acted upon from a criminal standpoint due to the number of years that have elapsed," a statement explains. "The statute of limitations would not allow for the allegations from this individual to move forward."
However, another artist and former employees of Webster's PR firm, Webster PR, have made allegations against Webster as well. The Tennessean reports that some of those alleged incidents occurred in or after 2009 -- within the eight-year statute of limitations.
In the days since Rick's allegations against Webster were made public, Webster PR announced Webster's departure from the company "to focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him." At that time, it was announced that the company would re-brand as Westby PR, and that "[t]he company's work on behalf of its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, Kirt's longstanding colleague;" however, a number of clients have since severed ties with the firm.
"I'm hoping that this is what it was supposed to boil down to, and I'm hoping to find some peace and some closure to this entire storyline," Rick says. "These things happened to me, I think they've happened to other people, and I want to stop them."