Dream singer Melissa Schuman sues Nick Carter, alleging sexual assault

A split image of Nick Carter smiling in a black suit and Melissa Schuman posing in a patterned shirt
Melissa Schuman has sued Nick Carter alleging sexual assault. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press; Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
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Melissa Schuman has moved to sue Nick Carter for alleged sexual assault and battery five years after Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to file charges against the Backstreet Boys singer.

Schuman, a former member of the 2000s girl group Dream, submitted a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Carter of sexually assaulting her in 2002 in Santa Monica when he was 22 and she was 18, according to court documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

In the complaint, Schuman alleges that Carter drugged her and raped her after she told him "over and over" that she didn't want to have sex until marriage. She also claims that Carter performed oral sex on her "against her will" and "demanded" she perform oral sex on him after she refused to do so.

Schuman alleges that Carter proceeded to "manipulate and torment her" after he raped her, texting her, "Why did you make me do that?" and calling her a "manipulative b—."

Carter's attorney, Liane K. Wakayama, said in a statement to TMZ and Rolling Stone 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." Wakayama dismissed the lawsuit as a "PR stunt" and accused Schuman of "plotting to damage, defame and extort" Carter.

In a statement provided to The Times, Schuman said, "I have faced extraordinary backlash for standing up for myself; I am not the first, however my intention is that I am the last."

“It’s time that powerful figures in the music industry get the message that they can no longer afford to enable and protect sexual predators," she added. "I’m fighting to make the music industry a safer place to work and perform.”

In 2018, Schuman told Santa Monica police that Carter raped her, but prosecutors opted not to pursue the case because the statute of limitations for the alleged crime expired in 2013. Schuman notes in her new lawsuit that she is now able "for the first time in over a decade" to take legal action against Carter because the statute of limitations window for adult survivors of sexual assault opened this year.

Carter previously denied Schuman's rape allegations in 2017 after she claimed in a blog post that "he was relentless, refusing to take my no's for an answer."

"He didn't listen," she wrote in the blog post. "He didn't care."

At the time, Carter said he was "shocked and saddened" by Schuman's allegations and claimed Schuman "never expressed" to him that what happened between them "was not consensual."

Schuman isn't the only woman who has accused Carter of sexual assault.

In December, Shannon "Shay" Ruth filed a civil sexual battery lawsuit accusing Carter of assaulting her and infecting her with HPV on a Backstreet Boys tour bus when he was 21 and she was 17. Carter later countersued Ruth and called her "a liar."

Schuman is seeking unspecified damages and "further relief as the court may deem proper."

"Carter used his role, status, and power as a well-known singer to gain access to, groom, manipulate, exploit and sexually assault" Schuman, the complaint reads. "As a result .... Schuman has suffered severe emotional, physical and psychological distress."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.