Former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman claims the boy band member raped her in 2003 when she was 18 and he was 22
A Las Vegas judge has ruled that Nick Carter's defamation countersuit against Melissa Schuman can continue, citing sufficient evidence to move forward.
The Backstreet Boys member, 43, filed a countersuit against the former teen pop singer after she previously accused him of raping her in his Santa Monica apartment in 2003 when she was 18 years old and he was 22.
In documents of the countersuit previously obtained by PEOPLE, Carter claimed that Schuman and Shannon Ruth – who sued him in December for alleged sexual battery – took advantage of the #MeToo movement and used it to launch a five-year conspiracy to "defame and vilify Carter and otherwise ruin his reputation for the purposes of garnering attention and fame and/or extorting money from Carter."
Schuman had previously filed an Anti-SLAPP motion attempting to throw out the musician's counterclaim, which was denied by Judge Nancy Allf.
The Anti-SLAPP statute is designed to prohibit lawsuits that are filed as retaliation against free speech through "expensive, baseless legal proceedings," according to the Reporter's Committee.
Carter's countersuit states he believes he has never met Ruth, and he denies both allegations.
Ruth, who has cerebral palsy and autism, alleges she was waiting in an autograph line after a Backstreet Boys show in Washington when Carter invited her to his bus. According to Ruth's lawsuit, Carter allegedly offered her a "VIP juice," a red-colored drink, when she reportedly asked for apple juice.
The court documents allege Carter brought Ruth to the bathroom and demanded she perform oral sex on him. Afterward, she alleges Carter continued to sexually assault her on a bed.
Michael Holtz, Carter's attorney at the time, told PEOPLE that Ruth's allegations were "not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue."
Carter was cleared to continue his counterclaim against Ruth in March.
After Wednesday's hearing, Liane K. Wakayama, the musician's attorney, shared in a statement to PEOPLE: "For years, Melissa and Jerome Schuman have been conspiring with anyone they could manipulate to drum up false claims against Nick Carter in a brazen attempt to get rich off of him. When Nick called them out on their malicious schemes, the Schumans tried but failed to have his countersuit dismissed and silenced."
The statement continued: "Today’s ruling confirms that Nick will be able to pursue that truth to its inevitable conclusion and expose the Schumans’ and their co-conspirators’ deceit and deplorable conduct.”
Schuman, who was a member of the all-girl teen group Dream, initially came forward in 2017, alleging that Carter raped her while the two were working on a movie project together in the early 2000s. Carter denied the allegations, and the case was closed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office due to the statute of limitations expiring.
An attorney for Schuman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
A comment in the task force declination obtained by PEOPLE at the time read: “The reporting party alleged that in 2003, she was the victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the suspect in his apartment. The victim was 18 years old at the time of the assault. The statute of limitations expired in 2013. Therefore an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence is not warranted and the matter is declined."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
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