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The Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter has been accused of rape, by Melissa Schuman of former teen-pop group Dream. Schuman alleges in a blog post that when she was 18, she was invited to Carter’s apartment with a friend, where he forced himself on Schuman sexually, despite her continued protests.
She writes that after she and Carter, both in successful turn-of-the-millennium teen-pop groups, were cast in the same made-for-TV movie, she and her roommate went out to his Santa Monica apartment to hang out. As the evening progressed, Carter invited Schuman to his office to listen to new music, and “naturally we started to kiss.”
Schuman says that Carter then took her into an adjoining bathroom, where he shut the door and tried to unbutton her pants, eventually performing oral sex on her. She writes that she protested all of this, saying that she didn’t want to go further. Then when someone knocked on the door, Carter took her to another bathroom, where he took off his own pants and asked her to give him oral sex, saying “I did it for you and it’s only right you do it for me.” Feeling “scared and trapped,” Schuman says she ultimately obliged.
From there, Schuman alleges that Carter took her to the bedroom, where he “threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me.” As a conservative Christian, Schuman says she was saving her virginity for marriage: “I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him that I was saving myself for my future husband. I said it over and over again.” But she says this failed to dissuade Carter from penetrating her against her will, saying, “I could be your husband.”
After the incident, Schuman says she confided in her manager about what had happened, and he intended to pursue legal action. But the manager warned his client that Carter had “the most powerful litigator in the country,” and Schuman, fearful for her career and public reputation, says she “didn’t want what he did to further affect my life and future,” ultimately declining to pursue charges.
In the days that followed, Schuman says Carter would continue to call her and leave messages demanding she speak with him, but Schuman would not talk to him. Eventually, she signed with a new manager who was personally close with Carter, and who set up a label showcase for her that included a duet with Carter, which they recorded separately but performed live together once. After the performance, during which Schuman says Carter was surprised by what he perceived from Schuman as a “lack of warm welcome and appreciation for the favor he was doing for me,” the label head passed on signing her and the manager lost interest in her.
Schuman says that while she was not interested in dredging up the past, even after the story of Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual misconduct broke, a story posted on RadarOnline about Carter being investigated for a separate sexual assault — and the reader comments she saw in response to the story, blaming the victim — spurred her to action. “I feel I have an obligation now to come forward with the hope and intention to inspire and encourage other victims to tell their story,” she explains.
Nick Carter has issued the following statement in response to Schuman’s blog post:
“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. 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. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.