Nick Carter Files Countersuit Against Sex Assault Accuser
Nick Carter has filed a countersuit Thursday against a woman who accused him last year of sexual assault.
The Backstreet Boys singer said Shannon Ruth’s “false allegations” have cost him and the group at least $2.35 million U.S. so far. (ABC shelved a Backstreet Boys holiday special in the wake of the accusations against Carter.) He is also seeking punitive damages and compensation for emotional distress.
Carter's countersuit, filed in Nevada, claims he is the victim of a conspiracy “to harass, defame and extort” him and names Melissa Schuman, who accused Carter of sexual assault in 2017, and her father Jerome as co-defendants. He claims Ruth is "a vulnerable and highly impressionable individual, craving attention and desperate to fit in" who was manipulated by the Shumans.
In her lawsuit filed in December, Ruth alleged that Carter sexually assaulted her on his tour bus following a concert in Tacoma, Washington in 2001, when she was 17. She claimed the "I Want It That Way" singer told her that he had “the power to wreck my life” if she reported the incident.
Ruth, who described herself as having autism and cerebral palsy, told reporters “nothing has affected me more or had a more lasting impact on my life than what Nick Carter did and said to me.”
When Ruth’s lawsuit was filed, Holtz said in a statement her claims were “not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue.” He said her allegations “have changed repeatedly and materially over time.”
In his counterclaim, Carter addressed public statements made by his younger brother Aaron Carter, who called Nick "a serial rapist" in 2019. According to the lawsuit, "At the time, Aaron was addicted to drugs, battling serious mental health issues, and engaged in a misguided campaign of retaliation against Carter and other members of his family who were worried about Aaron and pushing him to seek professional help." (Aaron died last November.)
Carter’s lawyer Michael Holtz said in a statement that the singer wants to stop “the smears and attempted shakedowns for good.”
Carter has not been criminally charged and the allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court. The Backstreet Boys are on tour in Asia, Australia and New Zealand until March 11.
In 2020, Canada's Justin Bieber sued over two accusations of sexual assault that appeared on social media. Last March, shock rocker Marilyn Manson filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex Evan Rachel Wood claiming that going public with "malicious" allegations of physical and sexual abuse derailed his career. And, a year ago, All Time Low filed libel lawsuits against three unidentified women who accused them on social media of sexual misconduct.