New lawsuit accuses Nick Carter of sexual assault in 2001 incident after Backstreet Boys concert

Nick Carter performs with the Backstreet Boys at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sept. 20, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Nick Carter performs with the Backstreet Boys at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sept. 20, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Nick Carter has been accused of raping a woman and infecting her with HPV, when he was touring with the Backstreet Boys, in a new civil lawsuit. As a result, ABC will no longer air the group's planned special, A Very Backstreet Holiday, on Dec. 14.

Shannon "Shay" Ruth, now 39, alleges that Carter sexually assaulted her in 2001, when she was 17, after a concert in Tacoma, Wash. Ruth says that she waited for an autograph, and Carter invited her onto the "I Want It That Way" hitmakers's tour bus.

At a news conference Thursday with Ruth and her legal team, her lawyer Mark J. Boskovich said that once his client and Carter were on the bus, the star gave her "a funny-tasting beverage that he called VIP juice." Carter then allegedly took her to the bathroom on the bus, "told her to get on her knees" and "pulled down his pants and exposed his genitals, ordering [Ruth] to perform sexual acts on him," the lawyer said. "Under duress, she did as Carter instructed [her] and cried throughout the ordeal."

The singer then allegedly took her to a bed in the back of the bus and raped her as she cried.

Afterwards, Boskovich said, Ruth threatened to tell people what had happened, and Carter grew angry, grabbed her and screamed at her, calling her names. She recalled him telling her that no one would believe her if she told her story, and she would go to jail.

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Boskovich said his team had spoken to three other women claiming Carter had both sexually assaulted and infected with the STD.

He noted that Ruth is on the autism spectrum and has a mild case of cerebral palsy.

"Hello, my name is Shay," she said at the podium, "and 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. Even though I'm autistic and live with cerebral palsy, I believe that nothing has affected me more than or had a more lasting impact on my life than what Nick Carter did and said to me."

Ruth said she suffers with issues of self-esteem and trust.

"My motivation for coming forward today and filing this lawsuit is to stop Nick Carter from assaulting more teens and women," Ruth said. "I know now that I wasn't the only woman Nick Carter did this to."

Carter denied the accusations through his attorney, Michael Holtz:

"This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue," Holtz said in a statement. "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."

The lawsuit, filed in Nevada's Clark County, is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

In 2017, Dream singer Melissa Schuman accused Carter of having sexually assaulted her in 2003. Carter said at the time that what had happened between them was consensual, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office declined to investigate whether the case warranted charges, because the statute of limitations had passed.

After Ruth's allegations were made public on Thursday, ABC pulled A Very Backstreet Holiday — the planned Backstreet Boys special featuring music from the group's new album of the same name — that was scheduled to air Dec. 14. The special will be replaced by comedy reruns.