A civil lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County, Nevada, alleges Carter raped Shannon "Shay" Ruth, as well as three other women identified only as Jane Does. Ruth is asking for monetary damages, both punitive and to cover medical expenses needed as a result of the alleged rape.
"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, now 39, said through tears during a press conference Thursday.
"Even though I am autistic and live with cerebral palsy, I believe that nothing has affected me more," she said. "My motivation for coming forward today and filing this lawsuit is to stop Nick Carter from assaulting more teens and women."
Carter's attorney, Michael Holtz, denied the charges in a statement.
“This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue. 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.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Ruth's attorneys for further comment.
Attorney Mark Boskovich said Ruth attended a Backstreet Boys concert in Tacoma, Washington, in February 2001. She met Carter after the show in an autograph line, and the singer invited her to the band's tour bus.
"He gave her a funny-tasting beverage that he called 'VIP juice,'" Boskovich said, adding that Ruth drank the beverage before Carter took her to the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex while she cried. Later, the attorney said, Carter took Ruth to a bed in the back of the bus where he raped her, despite pleas for him to stop.
"Every time Shay said no and tried to get away from Carter, he'd get angry and push her back down on that bed," Boskovich added.
Ruth said she would tell people what happened, but Carter allegedly grabbed and bruised her arm, called her an ableist slur and said no one would believe her, Boskovich said. The suit also alleges Carter infected Ruth and the three other women with HPV.
"These women's stories are all remarkably similar. They were all virgins when they were sexually assaulted by Carter, and they were all infected with HPV," Boskovich said, calling on other victims or those with evidence against Carter to come forward.
"No celebrity is above the law," Ruth said. "Carter took away my childhood and innocence, but he cannot and will not take away my strength and my truth."
The Backstreet Boys recently filmed a one-hour Christmas special titled "A Very Backstreet Holiday," originally scheduled to air Dec. 14. An ABC executive with knowledge of the network’s plans but unauthorized to confirm them publicly said the special will no longer air as scheduled.
This isn't the first time Carter has faced such allegations. In 2018, the Santa Monica Police Department confirmed it had begun an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct by the singer that occurred in 2003.
Actress-singer Melissa Schuman, in a 2017 blog post titled, "Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody," said Carter sexually assaulted her shortly after the two were cast in a TV movie, 2004's The Hollow. She was 18; he was 22.
Carter previously denied the accusation, adding he believed their interactions were consensual.
"I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations," the singer said in a statement at the time. "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.
The new lawsuit comes just over a month after Carter's younger brother, Aaron, was found dead at age 34 in his California home. Nick Carter shared a tribute to his brother, whom he filed a restraining order against in 2019.
"My heart has been broken today. Even though my brother and I have had a complicated relationship, my love for him has never ever faded," he wrote.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org).
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.
Contributing: Melissa Ruggieri, Erin Jensen
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nick Carter allegations: Backstreet Boys singer accused of rape