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Nick Carter files countersuit against his rape accuser

Nick Carter, of the Backstreet Boys, performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Fla., on June 21.  (Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times)
By Nardine Saad and Jonah Valdez Los Angeles Times

Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter has countersued a woman who accused the singer last year of assaulting her in 2001 and infecting her with HPV.

Shannon “Shay” Ruth filed a civil sexual battery lawsuit against Carter in December. In a counterclaim filed Thursday in Clark County District Court in Nevada, the musician accused the woman of being an “opportunist” who took advantage of the #MeToo movement and conspired with a previous accuser and her father to defame and extort him.

In 2017, singer Melissa Schuman of the girl group Dream accused Carter of raping her in the early 2000s, but prosecutors declined to file charges because the statute of limitations had expired. Carter denied raping Schuman.

“Carter will not allow himself to be smeared in this way. Protecting one’s reputation and name by calling a liar a liar is not victim blaming or bullying. It is simply telling the truth,” the singer’s attorneys wrote in the filing, obtained Thursday by the Times.

When Ruth filed her lawsuit, she and her legal team held a news conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and accused the Backstreet Boy of assaulting her and infecting her with human papillomavirus when she was 17 and he was 21. The alleged assault, she said during the news conference, occurred in 2001 after a Backstreet Boys concert in Tacoma, Washington.

Carter and his attorneys alleged in the new counterclaim that Ruth’s lawsuit was “the culmination of an approximate five-year conspiracy orchestrated by (Ruth, Schuman and her father, Jerome Schuman) to harass, defame and extort Carter.” They said her lawsuit was also “launched and bolstered by the #MeToo movement.”

The goal of the alleged conspiracy was to interfere with “Carter’s business opportunities and dealings for the purpose of extorting money from Carter, garnering attention and fame, and/or keeping their names in the limelight,” the countersuit said.

Carter’s filing included a list of social media posts, including tweets linked to the trio, that called Carter a serial rapist and predator and spread the hashtag #BSBCoverUp.

Since Ruth filed her lawsuit, Carter and the Backstreet Boys have lost more than $2 million due to show cancellations and lost endorsement deals from entities such as ABC, “Good Morning America,” VRBO and Roblox, the counterclaim said.

Carter also accused the Schumans of grooming and coaching Ruth, “coaxing her to inflate her initial claim of being abused at the hands of a third-party, to being physically abused at the specific hands of Carter, and, finally, to being sexually assaulted by Carter.”

The countersuit homes in on five phone reports Ruth made to Tacoma police over the span of nearly a year in 2019 and 2020.

The reports were full of “numerous discrepancies and inconsistencies,” which led authorities in Tacoma to not pursue charges against Carter, court documents said.

Carter and his attorneys say the changing story is evidence that Ruth was groomed and told what to say by the Schumans.

The countersuit also alleges the Schumans “exploited” Nick Carter’s younger brother, Aaron Carter, who struggled with addiction and substance use. Aaron Carter was used to “legitimize their frivolous tales” but eventually recanted his involvement, the document said.

Nick Carter said in the document that before his brother’s death in November, Aaron Carter apologized to him for his involvement with Ruth and the Schumans and called them “liars.”

“Why should Nick Carter be believed with his long history of abusing females. A jury will weigh the evidence and decide,” Ruth’s attorney Mark Boskovich said Thursday in an email statement to the Times.

Ruth said when she filed the lawsuit that after the alleged assault, Carter told her no one would believe her story. She said she began cutting herself.

“I felt like I had nowhere to turn, no way to express my emotions, pain and confusion except by hurting myself,” she said in December. “And I truly believed that if I told anyone, I would go to jail.”

“Even though I’m autistic and live with cerebral palsy, I believe that nothing has affected me more or had a more lasting impact on my life” than the alleged assault, she added.