A 39-year-old woman has filed a sexual battery lawsuit accusing Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter of raping her and infecting her with HPV when she was 17.
The suit, which was filed on Thursday in Clark County, Nevada, claims the assault against accuser Shannon “Shay” Ruth happened in February 2001 after a Backstreet Boys concert in Tacoma, Wash. Attorneys for Ruth held a press conference at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton hotel, where the plaintiff was also present, and detailed the alleged assault. The entirety of the press conference was live-streamed on Facebook.
Ruth, who identified herself as autistic and living with cerebral palsy, alleges that Carter — who was 21 in 2001 — invited her back to his tour bus after meeting her among a group of fans who were asking for autographs after the show. Ruth claims Carter handed her “a funny-tasting beverage that he called VIP juice,” a mixture of alcohol and cranberry juice, and led her to the bathroom in the tour bus where he exposed himself to her and instructed her to “get on her knees,” according to a complaint obtained by Variety. She alleges he instructed her on how to proceed, as she was a virgin at the time, and was visibly distraught throughout the assault.
According to the filing, Carter then “pushed” Ruth down onto a bed and proceeded to penetrate her, as she “begged him to stop” and told her it would be their “special secret.” The altercation concluded with Ruth claiming that she would be telling someone about the attack, but Carter retaliated by bruising her arms and telling her she was a “retarded little bitch” that no one would believe, the filing reads.
“The last 21 years have been filled with pain, confusion, frustration, shame, and self-harm that are a direct result of Nick Carter raping me,” Ruth told the press alongside lawyer Mark Boskovich at the conference. “Even though I’m autistic and live with cerebral palsy, I believe nothing has affected me more … than what Nick Carter did to me.”
Carter’s attorney, Michael Holtz, provided the following statement to Variety: “This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue. 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. 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.”
Boskovich also told the press that there are three additional “Jane Does” who had similar stories to Ruth’s, with two claiming to have also been infected with HPV as a result of Carter’s attacks.
Carter has previously denied similar sexual assault claims from Melissa Schuman who accused the boy-band member of assault in 2017. Schuman, a member of the 2000s girl group Dream, claimed in a blog post that Carter raped her in his Santa Monica apartment during an off day from shooting “The Hollow” in 2002. Ultimately, Schuman never filed a case as the Los Angeles County prosecutors determined it was outside the 10-year statute of limitations.
At the time, Carter wrote in a statement: “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. 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.”
Ruth’s legal team is seeking compensatory and punitive monetary damages.