Nick Carter Can Countersue His Rape Accuser, Judge Rules
Carter's accuser claimed the Backstreet Boy was using his "wealth and celebrity" to silence her, but a judge allowed his accusations to proceed.
A Las Vegas judge on Wednesday (March 29) reportedly refused to dismiss a countersuit filed by Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter against a woman who has accused him of rape, rejecting her arguments that he’s merely using the case to “harass and intimidate” her.
Shannon “Shay” Ruth, who sued Carter in December over allegations that he raped her after a 2001 concert, had asked the judge to dismiss his defamation countersuit under Nevada’s so-called anti-SLAPP law — a statute designed to prevent lawsuits that are filed as retaliation against free speech.
But at a court hearing Wednesday, Judge Nancy Alff denied that anti-SLAPP motion and allowed Carter’s countersuit to move forward, according to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Carter reportedly appeared in court with his lawyers on Wednesday, though Ruth was not physically present.
Ruth sued Carter in December, claiming he raped her when she was 17 years old following a 2001 concert in Washington state. Now 39, Ruth says she waited more than 20 years to come forward because she was afraid of retaliation.
“He told plaintiff she would go to jail if she told anyone what happened between them,” Ruth’s lawyers wrote at the time. “He said that he was Nick Carter, and that he had the power to do that. Due to his various threats, plaintiff did not report Carter’s crimes for many years.”
Carter fired back with a countersuit in February, claiming he’d been the victim of a “five-year conspiracy” that aimed to “to harass, defame and extort” him by exploiting the #MeToo movement. He said Ruth was “a vulnerable and highly impressionable individual” who was manipulated into making false accusations by Melissa Schuman Henschel — a former member of the teen-pop group Dream who previously accused Carter of assaulting her in 2003.
Weeks later, Ruth’s attorneys labeled Carter’s lawsuit a SLAPP suit, saying the defamation allegations had been brought with “no other purpose than to harass, intimate, and potentially silence plaintiff.”
“He seeks to use his wealth and celebrity status to outlast plaintiff,” Ruth’s lawyers wrote. “All while hiding behind being the ‘victim’ of the ‘#MeToo’ movement and the preposterous notion that plaintiff is only seeking attention and publicity.”
Wednesday’s ruling, which denied Ruth’s motion, came after Carter’s attorneys submitted detailed arguments backing up their contention that Ruth’s allegations were false and that his allegations of a conspiracy were plausible. His filings included testimony from 12 witnesses who supported his side of the story, including one who called Ruth’s story “factually impossible.”