Backstreet Boy Nick Carter Sued for Alleged Rape of Underage Autistic Fan

Singer Nick Carter has been accused of raping a 17-year-old autistic girl after giving her alcohol in 2001. Carter denies the allegations, which were filed in a civil lawsuit in Las Vegas on Thursday.

According to the suit, Shannon “Shay” Ruth was plucked by Carter, who was 21 at the time, from a line of fans seeking autographs following a Backstreet Boys concert at Washington’s Tacoma Dome. The suit claims he invited her aboard his tour bus and gave her a pink drink, dubbed “VIP juice,” that she claimed tasted alcoholic. Then, the lawsuit claims, Carter forced her to perform oral sex on him in a bathroom, and then vaginally penetrated her on a bed, allegedly telling her it would be their “special secret.”

Nick Carter
Nick Carter, shown in 2015, is accused in a new civil lawsuit of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2001. He denies the allegations. (Image: Getty)

The lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court because both Ruth, 39, and Carter, 42, currently reside in Las Vegas. A change in Nevada law in 2021 permits the suit, since it eliminated the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek damages from their attackers. Ruth’s suit seeks monetary damages for past and future pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

“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 said during a Facebook livestream on Thursday. “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 what Nick Carter did and said to me.”

According to the suit, Ruth claimed Carter called her a “retarded bitch” and bruised her arm after the incident, threatening her not to report it.

“Carter tried to scare me into silence,” she said, claiming he told her “he’d turn people against me because he was Nick Carter and had the power to wreck my life.”

Ruth also claimed she contracted HPV from the unwanted encounter.

Carter Responds

Carter denied Ruth’s allegations through a statement released by his lawyer Thursday.

“This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue,” read a statement from attorney Michael Holtz. “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.”

Carter faced a similar allegation in the past, though it was not prosecuted. In 2017, Melissa Schuman – a former member of teen-pop group Dream – accused Carter of sexually assaulting her in 2003, when she was 18. LA County prosecutors declined to file a case, since California’s 10-year statute of limitations had expired.

Carter denied the allegation at the time, stating, “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.”

In the wake of the new lawsuit, ABC has canceled its scheduled airing of a Backstreet Boys Christmas special on Dec. 14. A Very Backstreet Holiday was to feature the group performing songs from its recently released Christmas album.