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Backstreet Boys singer claims sexual assault allegations were part of conspiracy

Updated February 3, 2023 - 4:15 pm

A counter claim filed Thursday alleges a woman who accused singer Nick Carter last year of sexual assault was part of a conspiracy to defame and extort him.

A complaint filed in December in Clark County alleged that Shannon Ruth, then 17, was sexually assaulted by Carter on his Backstreet Boys tour bus in February 2001.

Ruth was attending the band’s performance in Tacoma, Washington. Ruth, now 39, is autistic and has cerebral palsy.

Her complaint accuses Carter of giving her alcohol to drink before raping her and grabbing her arm to stop her from leaving.

Carter’s counter claim alleges Ruth was recruited by Melissa Schuman and her father, Joel Schuman, to come forward with a fabricated account of what happened. It also claims the Schumans took advantage of the publicity around the #MeToo movement to come forward and allege that Melissa Schuman was sexually assaulted by Carter in 2003.

“Ruth was a vulnerable and highly impressionable individual, craving attention and desperate to fit in,” Carter’s claim states. “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 claim alleges that Ruth’s story about the alleged assault has changed multiple times and that her account of attending the concert in Tacoma does not match with what actually happened.

In addition, Carter claims that after Ruth came forward in December, he and the Backstreet Boys lost at least $2.35 million due the cancellation of promotional events.

Christian Morris, an attorney representing Ruth, said in an email that it will be up to a jury to “weigh the evidence and decide.”

She said Ruth’s attorneys are working on motions to address the counter claim.

Attorneys representing Carter could not be reached for comment as of Thursday evening.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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