Nick Carter is hitting back against a lawsuit that claims he raped a 17-year-old girl on his tour bus in 2001 following a Backstreet Boys concert in Tacoma, Wash.
In a countersuit filed in Nevada court Thursday (Feb. 2), the singer claims he’s the victim of a “five-year conspiracy” orchestrated by three individuals “to harass, defame and extort” him by latching onto the #MeToo movement. Among other allegations, Carter says the alleged victim of the assault, Shannon “Shay” Ruth, was manipulated into filing her lawsuit by Melissa Schuman Henschel — a former member of the teen-pop group Dream, who previously accused Carter of assaulting her in 2003 when she was 18 years old — and Schuman’s father, Jerome Schuman.
“Ruth was a vulnerable and highly impressionable individual, craving attention and desperate to fit in,” the lawsuit reads. “Schuman and Jerome groomed and coached 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 goes on to highlight the evolving nature of Ruth’s claims against Carter in social media posts as well as “numerous factual changes and amendments” made to her initial police report against him over a period of 12 months.
In addition to claims that the co-defendants illegally conspired against him, Carter accuses the defendants of defamation owing to various social media posts and a podcast appearance in which they variously accused him of being “a rapist,” an “abuser,” a “#SerialPredator” and more.
Also named as a defendant is the holder of the @ElaineModo Twitter handle (under the name Olay Elaine Mcintosh) — though the countersuit alleges that the account is likely orchestrated by the Schumans and Ruth to spread false information about him from a source designed to appear independent.
Carter is asking for damages of no less than $2.35 million — the amount he claims he lost in various career opportunities — as well as emotional distress damages, punitive damages and more.
In an emailed statement sent to Billboard, Ruth’s attorney, Mike Boskovich of Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, said: “Why should Nick Carter be believed with his long history of abusing females. A jury will weigh the evidence and decide.”
One particularly eyebrow-raising allegation in the countersuit involves Carter’s late brother, singer Aaron Carter, whom Nick alleges the Schumans and Ruth used as a pawn to try to “legitimize” their claims against his older brother. “The Schumans’ timing couldn’t have been better since, 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,” the complaint reads. It adds that the Schumans went so far as to accompany Aaron to a court hearing after a restraining order application was filed against him by Nick and his wife following a series of threatening social media posts by the younger Carter.
The countersuit notes that Aaron later recanted his previous statements backing up the women’s claims on Instagram and during a subsequent podcast appearance, but that the Schumans and Ruth continue to use those earlier statements to try to lend credibility to their claims.
In the wake of Melissa Schuman’s initial allegations against Carter in November 2017, the singer claims that, in addition to career and financial blowback, he has become the target of death threats and been forced to hire private security for himself and his family. He alleges that he and the Backstreet Boys were dealt an even costlier financial blow after Ruth filed her lawsuit last December, losing at least $2.35 million due to the cancellation of promotional events, contracts and endorsement deals with companies including MeUndies, VRBO, Roblox and ABC, which scrapped the group’s A Very Backstreet Christmas Special due to air on the network after Ruth’s lawsuit was filed.
Though named as a co-defendant, throughout the filing Ruth is depicted as little more than a pawn in a game designed to bring the Schumans wealth and attention. The countersuit paints Melissa specifically as a desperate fame-seeker who is using the allegations against Carter to revive her dormant career as a singer and actress. Jerome, meanwhile, is characterized as akin to an attack dog, regularly making “aggressive, nasty, and, often, threatening” statements on social media against Carter and his fans.
The lengthy countersuit includes a detailed account of Ruth and Melissa Schuman’s inconsistent statements since making their accusations and attempts to discredit them by noting that they waited 19 and 14 years, respectively, before going public about the alleged assaults. “Upon information and belief, Schuman and Ruth deliberately waited for the applicable limitation periods to run so as to allow evidence to spoil, witnesses to die or disappear, and memories to fade in an effort to evade any thorough investigation into their false claims,” the countersuit reads.
With respect to Ruth’s claims, the countersuit alleges that no autograph signing event was held outside Carter’s tour bus on the night in question, as she claimed in her lawsuit, and includes evidence that after going to the Tacoma police nearly 20 years later, Ruth continually contradicted important details in her account — including an initial claim that Carter had only “injured her arm.”
In further denying Melissa Schuman’s claims, Carter alleges that, far from a rape, the two engaged in consensual sex on the night in question. After highlighting Schuman’s prior statements that she tried to avoid the singer in the wake of the alleged rape, the countersuit adds that she not only completed work on the movie they were filming together after the alleged assault but recorded a duet with Carter and later performed it live with him. It also points to various supportive social media posts Schuman made about Carter as recently as May 2017.
You can read the full lawsuit below.
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