Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter Facing Sexual Battery Lawsuit Over Alleged 2001 Assault

A week prior to ABC's planned holiday special A Very Backstreet Holiday, Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter is again facing allegations of sexual assault. In this latest incident, the pop star is being sued for sexual battery over an alleged incident occurring in 2001. 

A woman with autism and cerebral palsy is seeking damages against the boy band singer, saying that when she was 17 years old, Carter invited her onto the band’s tour bus, possibly gave her alcohol and then assaulted her in the bathroom. She reportedly contracted HPV afterward. A source close to the singer has denied the accusations.

In court documents obtained by TMZ, Shannon Ruth detailed an alleged incident that she said occurred between her and Nick Carter in 2001 in Tacoma, Washington. She said while waiting in line for an autograph, she was invited onto the tour bus and given a drink that Carter reportedly called “VIP juice,” telling her it was cranberry juice. The woman allegedly said the drink tasted off, and she now suspects that it contained alcohol.

The lawsuit documents go on to say that the teen was brought to the bus’ bathroom, where Nick Carter allegedly ordered her to perform oral sex on him, despite her protests. He then took her to a bed and reportedly continued to assault her. When she threatened to tell people, the lawsuit states Carter said that no one would believe her, and then called her a “little bitch” and used a disability slur. She is reportedly seeking damages after contracting HPV.

A source close to Nick Carter told TMZ the accusations are "categorically false," and that the Backstreet Boy is focusing on his family and the death of his brother Aaron Carter at this time.

This isn’t the first time Nick Carter has faced allegations like this, though the boy-bander has never been charged with a crime. Back in 2018 Melissa Schuman, a member of the 2000s girl group Dream, came forward with sexual assault claims against Carter from an alleged incident from the early aughts. In that instance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office refused to press charges against the Backstreet Boy, per TMZ, because the statute of limitations for an alleged crime committed in 2003 expired in 2013, according to California's law at the time.  

The most recent lawsuit comes just over a month after Nick Carter’s younger brother was found dead in a bathtub in his home at age 34. The older brother had a complicated relationship with Aaron Carter, who openly struggled with addiction for years. The Backstreet Boy has shared some emotional words on social media about his brother over the past few weeks, as he spent time with his family over Thanksgiving.  

As of this writing, there’s been no statement from ABC in regard to the lawsuit against Nick Carter, as A Very Backstreet Holiday is scheduled to air on the network on December 14. The Christmas special will feature a number of celebrities, including Seth Rogan as narrator, with the Backstreet Boys performing hits from their latest album, A Very Backstreet Christmas. As we wait for further developments on this story, you can see what else is coming to TV and streaming for the rest of the month with our 2022 TV schedule

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.