*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published by Four Points Press on May 7, 2022.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Four Points Press Editor-In Chief Luella Brien has known Adam Sings In The Timber for 20 years since attending the University of Montana School of Journalism together and belongs to an online social group with Tena Bear Don’t Walk. In the interest of journalistic integrity, Four Points Press enlisted editing help for this story from Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage News Editor.
After a brief investigation the Tulalip tribal prosecutor has cleared Apsaalooké photographer Adam Sings In The Timber of all sexual assault allegations lodged against him in their jurisdiction by a former then 19-year-old University of Washington student.
The investigation by Tulalip Tribal Police was opened on March 1, 2022 and completed early that same month, a detective with the Tulalip Police Department said, adding that the tribal prosecutor has declined to take action on the case.
In an interview with Four Points Press, Sings In The Timber said he was not contacted by police during the investigation.
He said he called the Tulalip Tribal Police in Washington after reading an April 22 article on Indianz.com that said an investigation was opened by the Tulalip Police.
The detective said there are no plans to reopen the case or pursue Sings In The Timber for questioning.
“The last three weeks have been the most difficult of my life. I‘ve felt totally helpless and hopeless. But I’m not a monster, and I’m not a rapist,” Sings In The Timber said in a press release to Four Points Press. “I know that I have become the personification of all the Native men who have hurt Native women. I know that many of you are hurting and re-traumatized from this. For that I am deeply sorry.”
Sings In The Timber has previously denied the allegations on his Instagram, but those remarks have been deleted.
“I shattered my former partner’s heart and tore her world apart. And, I needlessly dragged a dear friend into this. I can’t undo the past, but I can and will work to better the future. I have not carried myself in an honorable manner,” Sings In The Timber wrote in his press release. “I have much to atone for. I was not conscious of Tena’s heart. I made a bad choice sleeping with someone so much younger, but I never assaulted her. It was consensual.”
Four Points Press does not release names of accusers or victims in sexual assault cases except in the case of the victim coming forward publicly.
Tena Bear Don’t Walk has publicly identified herself via her social media platforms. In documents provided to Four Points Press, Bear Don’t Walk has sent releases and emails to Sings In The Timber’s known associates to accuse him of sexual assault and rape since February.
According to Bear Don’t Walk’s public statement posted on her Instagram account on April 18, the two met over social media in the summer of 2018, maintaining an online friendship until May 2019 when they met in Seattle. At that time, Sings In the Timber had a photography show and gave a lecture at the University of Washington where Bear Don’t Walk was a student.
Bear Don’t Walk reported on her April 18 Instagram post that on Nov. 18, 2019 Sings In The Timber let her know later that week he would be at the Tulalip Resort to work as a conference photographer. She added he invited her to “come hang out if you have time.”
Indianz.com reported that Sings In The Timber allegedly provided her with alcohol he purchased at a Tulalip tribally-owned liquor store and at the Tulalip Casino.
A total of three bottles of alcohol were purchased, Bear Don’t Walk said. She did not specify if the transaction at the liquor store was paid with cash or a credit card, but in her account of the ordeal she did allege the transaction at the casino was charged to Sings In The Timber’s room through room service.
Four Points Press has reviewed Sings In the Timber’s room receipt and credit card used during the time period in question.
A review of Sings In The Timber’s room receipt from his Nov. 19-21 stay at the Tulalip Resort and Casino show no room service charges for alcohol or food. In a phone call to the hotel, a Tulalip Resort employee said room service charges would show on the room receipt even if they were paid with a separate credit card or cash.
Sings In The Timber’s Tulalip Resort Casino room receipt/confirmation shows no extra charges to the total cost of the stay.
Sings In The Timber’s credit card statement shows a $49 charge at casino restaurant, Blackfish, which Bear Don’t Walk has corroborated in her account of the two nights she spent with Sings In The Timber. The statement also shows a $45.69 purchase in the Hibub Cultural Center on Nov. 20 for neckties, which Bear Don’t Walk also mentions in her account.
Sings In The Timber’s credit card statement from the time he stay at the Tulalip Resort Casino from November 19-21, 2019 shows eight transactions.
The credit card statement reflects three other transactions Sings In The Timber can identify: a $30 purchase for a steering wheel cover at a vendor booth on Nov. 20; a $75.68 dinner at Cedars Cafe Grill on Nov. 21; and a $63 ATM withdrawal also on Nov. 21.
The only other charges on the credit card statement are an $11.50 transaction at the Quil Ceda Casino on Nov. 20 and the $32.40 transaction at the Tulalip Casino on Nov. 21. Neither transaction aligns with in-room alcohol pricing, which includes a mandatory 20% gratuity, according to the current menu available online.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the consumer price index for the Seattle-Bellvue-Tacoma area has risen 5.9% since 2019, which places the lowest priced bottle of wine at about $33.88 during November 2019, not including gratuity.
In previously unreleased Instagram direct messages, Sings In The Timber and Bear Don’t Walk continued to communicate for weeks after the alleged sexual assault. They also sent each other electronic cash transactions via the Venmo app.
One of the first messages Bear Don’t Walk sent Sings In The Timber said in part, “I’ll always look back on our night together very fondly, it was amazing, but I hope it doesn’t change anything between us and that our paths cross again. ❤️”
The two discussed Bear Don’t Walk’s broken camera lens. Sings In The Timber sent her $40 via Venmo, which she had previously sent to him via Venmo to reimburse him for a piece of jewelry he picked up for her at the conference, Sings In The Timber said.
On Nov. 28, Bear Don’t Walk suggests “putting some distance” between her and Sings In The Timber.
“I think it may be for the best if we had some distance. I can sense us being good friends one day in the distance, I felt our connection,” she wrote, “but for now, maybe just a step back. What do you think?”
“Yeah, that occurred to me too,” Sings In The Timber wrote. “And I think it might be the wisest path to take right now. And yes, I agree, and think down the road we can be good friends. How do you want to do that? Refrain from messaging? Unfollow each other on [Instagram] & [Facebook]? Mute each other here? And then just text when there’s something needed to be said?”
“Refraining from messaging would be a smart idea and you know, if anything ever happens, or comes up we can text when there needs to be something said or a drunk text message is due,” Bear Don’t Walk wrote.
Sings In The Timber said the last time he and Bear Don’t Walk spoke was on Dec. 31, 2019 through Instagram when they wished each other “Happy New Year.”
“I was completely blindsided by her allegations and her story,” Sings In The Timber said. “Especially since in some of her final messages to me she wrote that she thinks we’ll be good friends one day.”
Criminal background checks for both Sings In the Timber and Bear Don’t Walk reveal no history for either party.
Bear Don’t Walk declined an interview over the phone or via video conferencing and requested an email interview, which is against Four Points Press’ reporting policy. This policy is in place to protect journalists, as well as sources, from false representation through email or messaging.