LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lawyers for a woman suing Backstreet Boys’ singer Nick Carter are asking a judge to dismiss the celebrity’s counterclaims amid Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law.
The anti-SLAPP law, which stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation, is intended to prevent one party from intimidating another in the legal process.
The lawsuit, filed in Clark County in December, alleges Carter raped Shannon “Shay” Ruth when she was 17 years old. Ruth alleges Carter, who was 21 at the time, gave her alcohol, raped her, and threatened her if she told anyone, documents said.
In February of 2001, Ruth was invited onto a tour bus in Tacoma, Washington by Carter while she was waiting in line for an autograph. On the bus, Carter gave her cranberry juice with alcohol and said it was “VIP juice” after Ruth told him the drink tasted weird, according to the lawsuit.
After Ruth drank the juice, the lawsuit said, Carter took her to the bathroom of the tour bus and assaulted her. He became irritated when Ruth got upset, asking her “Why are you crying?! Stop crying,” according to the lawsuit. Carter then took Ruth to the back of the tour bus and raped her, the lawsuit said.
Ruth did not report the incident because of his threats, according to the lawsuit. It was later discovered that Carter infected her with human papillomavirus, or HPV, the lawsuit said.
Around 2003, another victim, who was not named in court documents, said Carter gave her alcohol and raped her. She later tested positive for HPV, according to the lawsuit.
Carter was also accused of rape by singer Melissa Schuman, who claimed he raped her in 2003. The statute of limitations expired before charges could be filed, and Carter has denied that allegation.
Ruth and Schuman were named because they chose to identify themselves as victims of sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault are not named unless they choose to publicly come forward.
“Out of genuine fear for reasonably perceived consequences, plaintiff did not bring a claim against Carter until December 8, 2022, over two decades after the incident occurred,” Ruth’s attorney, Christian Morris, wrote in newly filed court documents. “This is illustrative of the extreme level of fear and anxiety she has felt since that time.”
Carter has denied the allegations and filed a counterclaim earlier this month. The claim alleges the accusers are taking advantage of the #MeToo movement, calling the women “opportunists” who “set out to thrust themselves into the spotlight and destroy innocent lives.”
Carter’s lawyers said Ruth’s “lawsuit is the culmination of an approximate five-year conspiracy orchestrated by counter-defendants to harass, defame and extort Carter,” documents said.
“Carter’s counterclaim was brought with the intent to harass and intimidate plaintiff, impede her right to free speech, and use his considerable wealth and celebrity status to ‘outlast’ plaintiff,” Ruth’s attorney said. “Under Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute, the burden rests with Carter to demonstrate he has a probability of prevailing on the merits. This court should require Carter to present specific evidence demonstrating such and, if/when he cannot, dismiss the counterclaim.”
A judge had not set a court date as of Thursday. State law requires a judge to rule on anti-SLAPP matters within 20 business days of filing.
Lawyers for Carter have not responded to previous repeated requests for comment.