Nick Carter has been sued for sexual battery by a woman who claims she was assaulted as a teenager more than 20 years ago — an incident a source close to the star has denied.
The Backstreet Boys singer, 42, was sued by a woman named Shannon Ruth, who alleged that she was 17 years old when Carter, then 21, sexually assaulted her on his tour bus after a concert in 2001, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE. TMZ and Rolling Stone were the first to report the suit.
A source close to Carter denies the allegations.
Michael Holtz, an attorney for Carter, later added in a statement sent to PEOPLE, "This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue."
Holtz said, "Unfortunately, for several years now, Ms. Ruth has been manipulated into making false allegations about Nick — and those allegations have changed repeatedly and materially over time. No one should be fooled by a press stunt orchestrated by an opportunistic lawyer — there is nothing to this claim whatsoever, which we have no doubt the courts will quickly realize."
Ruth, who has autism and cerebral palsy, claimed she was waiting in an autograph line after a Backstreet Boys show in Tacoma, Washington when Carter invited her to his bus.
The singer allegedly asked Ruth if she wanted a drink, and when she requested apple juice, he gave her a red-colored drink he called "VIP juice," the documents claim. Though Carter allegedly said the beverage was cranberry juice, Ruth believes it also contained alcohol.
The documents claim that Carter brought Ruth to the bathroom, then demanded she performed oral sex on him. Afterward, the singer allegedly continued to sexually assault her on a bed. Ruth claimed that she was a virgin before the encounter, and that she contracted HPV.
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Nick Carter
Ruth claims that she did not report the alleged assault earlier because the singer allegedly told her "she would go to jail if she told anyone what happened."
She is suing for sexual battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Carter was previously accused of rape by former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman, who said in 2017 that she was 18 and he was 22 when the incident occurred.
The singer denied Schuman's claims, saying that anything that happened between them was "consensual," and he was never charged with a crime. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office declined the case in 2018, citing an expiration on the statute of limitations.
It's been a tumultuous stretch for the Carter family, as they have been publicly and privately grieving the loss of brother Aaron Carter, who died on Nov. 5 at the age of 34.
Nick, who shares three young children with wife Lauren, has continued to tour with the Backstreet Boys. With Aaron's twin sister Angel, he recently launched a donation fund for youth mental health in their late sibling's honor.
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.