Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter was sued for sexual assault involving an incident with a minor in 2001.
According to the lawsuit, first reported by TMZ and later obtained by Rolling Stone, Shannon Ruth, who was 17 at the time, claims she was invited by Carter, then 21, on the tour bus of the Backstreet Boys after a concert in Tacoma, Washington. Ruth also spoke at a press conference today.
A source close to Carter told TMZ that the accusations are “categorically false” and that “Nick is focused on his family and mourning the death of his brother,” singer and rapper Aaron Carter, who died last month at 34.
Court documents say Ruth, who has autism and cerebral palsy, was asked by Carter if she wanted a drink. When she asked for apple juice, he offered her cranberries. She says the red-colored drink, which Carter called “VIP juice,” tasted “off,” but she drank it so as not to be rude. She now believes it was a mixture of cranberry juice and alcohol.
The lawsuit claims that Carter then led Ruth to the restroom on the tour bus and ordered her to perform oral sex on her. She says she cried as he continued to instruct her.
Ruth says Carter then took her to a bed and continued to sexually assault her, called her a “retarded little bitch” and said no one would believe when she said she would talk about her behavior to the people.
“Just because Nick Carter is a celebrity doesn’t mean he’s excused from his crimes,” Ruth said at the press conference. “I am a survivor and always will be.”
According to the documents, Ruth was a virgin at the time and contracted HPV after the encounter. She is now claiming damages.
These are not the first sexual assault allegations against Carter. In 2018, Melissa Schuman, a former member of girl group Dream, publicly claimed Carter forced her to have sex “against my will” when he was 22 and she was 18.
Carter denied the allegations, saying in a statement: “I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never voiced me while we were together or at any time since not everything we did was consensual… This is the first I’ve heard of these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is against my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause discomfort or harm to someone.
Schuman described being “traumatized” after the attack, saying she “initially wanted to box it in my mind and let the memories slowly fade away over time”. She said she felt compelled to come forward after seeing an anonymous woman’s “victim shaming” online who accused Carter and a friend of sexually assaulting her in 2006. Carter’s rep said that the woman “fabricated the allegations against Nick for one simple reason – she was hoping to extort money from him”.
The Guardian contacted Carter’s management for a response.