Shannon Ruth claimed in her court filing that the Backstreet Boys crooner forcibly raped her after she attended a February 2001 concert in Tacoma, Washington. Ruth, who is on the autism spectrum and has cerebral palsy, alleged that Carter invited her to join him on his tour bus after the show.
Ruth sued the “No Place” singer for sexual battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, claiming that he exposed himself to her and instructed her to perform oral sex on him “under duress.”
“This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue,” Michael Holtz, Carter’s attorney, told Us Weekly at the time. “Unfortunately, for several years now, Ms. Ruth has been manipulated into making false allegations about Nick — and those allegations have changed repeatedly and materially over time.”
The statement concluded: “No one should be fooled by a press stunt orchestrated by an opportunistic lawyer — there is nothing to this claim whatsoever, which we have no doubt the courts will quickly realize.”
Carter’s bandmates — Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough — did not immediately address the scandal. When the lawsuit made headlines, the group had been gearing up for the Backstreet Boys’ holiday event.
“Our first-ever official Christmas TV special, #AVeryBackstreetHoliday, will be premiering on @abcnetwork! ☃️,” Dorough wrote via Instagram several days before news broke of Carter’s scandal. “Tune into ABC on 12/14 at 8/7c! 🎁Stream the next day on Hulu and Disney+!”
Carter was previously accused of sexual assault by Dream singer Melissa Schuman, who alleged in November 2017 that the “Shape of Your Heart” performer raped her after they worked together on the 2004 TV movie The Hollow. Schuman was 18 at the time of the alleged encounter, while Carter was 22. He denied her claims at the time.
“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” Carter told Us in a November 2017 statement. “We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”
Scroll below for everything to know about Carter’s 2001 scandal and 2022 lawsuit: