Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter can countersue his rape accuser after a dozen witnesses questioned her account, including one who called the allegations “factually impossible,” a judge ruled.
Late last year, a woman named Shannon “Shay” Ruth filed a lurid lawsuit against Carter, labeling him a “monster” who allegedly lured the then-17-year-old on a tour bus, plied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her in 2001. Carter was 22 years old at the time, and Ruth claimed that Carter infected her with HPV. Her complaint was one of multiple lawsuits against the singer in the wake of the passage of legislation temporarily suspending the statute of limitations on historic sexual abuse claims.
Earlier this year, Carter filed a countersuit labeling Ruth and other alleged victims as “opportunists” engaged in a “five-year conspiracy” to “harass, defame and extort” him. Ruth tried to jettison that counterclaim under anti-SLAPP law, a statute established to punish lawsuits designed to chill free speech.
Before Wednesday’s hearing, Carter’s legal team filed a waterfall of paperwork maintaining he had evidence to support his claims of a massive extortion plot. Carter said he found 12 witnesses who attended the concerts in Tacoma, Washington, where Ruth claimed to have been sexually assaulted. At least nine of them filed affidavits and declarations attached to his motion.
“By all accounts, there were no autograph lines after either concert, Carter and the band exited the venue very quickly after each show (in what is described as a ‘quick-out’), Carter was escorted from the stage to his tour bus after each show by a personal security guard (who boarded the bus with Carter and remained on the bus as it drove away), fans were barricaded out of the tour bus staging area, and, most importantly, Carter was not permitted to be alone with fans at the venue or even in his tour bus at any time,” Carter’s attorney Dale A. Hayes Jr. wrote in a 67-page legal brief.
Supporting his attorney’s arguments, Carter filed a waterfall of affidavits from those describing themselves as witnesses. They questioned various aspects of her account. Susan Riggs, a friend of Carter’s and a Backstreet Boys fan, said she allegedly observed Carter avoid fans while leaving the venue after the night in question.
“Immediately after the show concluded, I personally observed the entire band, including Nick Carter, exit the Tacoma Dome and rush straight to their tour buses,” Riggs said in an affidavit. “The band and other crew members, climbed onto their buses and the buses immediately left the Tacoma Dome for the hotel in Seattle.”
Joy Leist, who said she was Ruth’s friend, called the claims “factually impossible” and cast doubt on whether Ruth attended the concert and her diagnosis with autism and cerebral palsy.
“Although it was unclear why she mentioned these issues during her press conference, I spoke with her regularly and spent substantial time in her presence during the relevant time frame and had no idea that she suffered from either of these conditions,” Leist wrote.
Carter’s representatives say the singer was present in court when Judge Nancy Alff denied Ruth’s anti-SLAPP motion and advanced his counterclaim.
Ruth’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Read Carter’s legal brief here.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]