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Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has been sued for sexual assault and sexual battery by Melissa Schuman, a former member of pop group Dream.
Schuman and her legal team filed the civil suit on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, with the 2000s girl group performer alleging that Carter used his status and platform as an “international multiplatinum recording pop star” to “groom, manipulate, exploit, and sexually assault” her. It’s the second suit filed against Carter in the last six months, with another woman, Shannon “Shay” Ruth, also alleging that he assaulted her when she was 17 on the Backstreet Boys’ tour bus during the band’s 2001 Black & Blue tour.
Schuman alleges that Carter assaulted her at his Santa Monica apartment in 2003 while they were working as co-stars in the teen horror film The Hollow. According to the lawsuit, while filming, Carter invited her over to his apartment, with the duo joined by a male friend of the singer and a female friend of her own. Carter then allegedly gave Schuman alcohol and put a drug “like flunitrazepam” into her drink before taking her through various rooms in the apartment, including a bathroom and multiple bedrooms.
There he allegedly forced himself on her and performed sexual acts, including vaginal penetration, without her consent, in addition to forcing her to perform acts on him under fear of physical harm.
In a statement, Liane K. Wakayama, attorney for Carter, denied the allegations, stating that “Schuman has been peddling this tale for many years, but her allegation was false when she first made it back in 2017 — and it still is.” She added that Schuman has been “plotting to damage, defame and extort Nick, his associates, his friends and his family” and called her lawsuit “both predictable and pathetic.
“But this PR stunt won’t shake Nick from his determination to hold Ms. Schuman and her co-conspirators to account for the immeasurable pain and suffering their extortionate conduct has caused,” the statement concluded.
In the suit and in a November 2017 blog post where Schuman first publicly documented her allegations, the singer said she reported the incident when it first happened, including to her talent manager, as well as her family, therapist, roommate and a former co-star. She and her reps, according to the lawsuit, even worked to create distance on the film’s set between her and Carter. Following the alleged assault, Schuman attempted to keep her distance from Carter, but per the lawsuit, he harassed her shortly after.
That included calling her repeatedly on the phone, and at one point referring to her as a “manipulative bitch” when she asked him about the incident during a phone conversation. He also allegedly attempted to contact her through a shared music manager, who Schuman said she didn’t realize until later “was a close personal friend” of Carter when he abruptly “stopped working with her as a client.”
Before the alleged 2003 assault, Schuman’s suit claims she and Carter had previously come into contact while she was shooting a video with Dream. She was 16 at the time when the Backstreet Boys singer, then 21, indicated that Schuman was “cute” through their respective teams, who allegedly attempted to set up a staged romance between the two pop stars.
According to Schuman’s suit and her blog post, her decision to not speak out publicly or go to the police at the time of the alleged 2003 assault came after being “highly discouraged” due to Carter having “one of the most power litigators in the country,” and that “coming forward could ruin her career.” The singer has repeatedly said her decision to speak out about the allegations was sparked by another woman who claimed she was assaulted by Carter in 2017 amid the beginnings of the #MeToo Movement.
Carter previously denied Schuman’s allegations when they were made in 2017, stating that Schuman had “never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” according to Rolling Stone.
In February 2018, Schuman filed a report with the Santa Monica Police Department, but the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the matter due to the statute of limitations having expired in 2013.
Schuman is also involved in the sexual battery suit filed in Nevada last December against Carter. In that case, Shannon Ruth — a now-39-year-old woman with autism and cerebral palsy — alleges that in 2001, when she was 17, Carter picked her out of a lineup of fans and brought her back to the group’s tour bus after a show in Tacoma, Washington. There, he allegedly gave her a drink that tasted alcoholic and proceeded, without Ruth’s consent, to perform various sex acts.
Following the assault, Ruth claimed that Carter turned “nasty and threatening,” using ableist language and leaving bruises on her arm. Ruth’s lawsuit also claims Carter sexually assaulted three other women, according to Rolling Stone. In response to that suit, Carter sued Ruth for defamation, naming Schuman and her father, Jerome Schuman, as co-defendants.
The allegations in Ruth’s lawsuit share similarities to the alleged assault described in Schuman’s. Carter and his then-legal representative Michael Holtz denied Ruth’s allegations, calling the alleged rape of Ruth “an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago” that “is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue.” In March, a Nevada judge ruled Carter’s defamation counterclaim against Ruth and the Schumans could proceed, Billboard reported.
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