By Melissa Chan
November 22, 2017

Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys said he was “shocked and saddened” Wednesday after pop singer Melissa Schuman accused him of raping her and forcefully taking her virginity about 15 years ago.

Schuman, who rose to fame in the early 2000s as a member of the girl group Dream, said in a blog post earlier this month that she was 18 when Carter allegedly forced her to give him oral sex and have intercourse at his California apartment. Carter disputed the accusation in a statement obtained by TIME, saying everything the two singers did was consensual.

“Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” he said. “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.”

Schuman said she and Carter, 22 at the time, were both cast in the same movie years ago when he invited her over to hang out and drink with a small group of friends. At one point, the two began kissing and Carter led them into a nearby bathroom, where he began unbuttoning her pants to give her oral sex.

“I told him I didn’t want to go any further,” Schuman said, adding that Carter was aware she was a virgin and saving herself for marriage. “He didn’t listen. He didn’t care. He told me, ‘Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.’”

Schuman said they eventually moved to another bathroom, where she claimed he forced her to perform oral sex on him, and then to the bedroom, where he allegedly raped her. “It was done,” she said. “The one thing I had held as a virtue had been ruined. I went limp, turned my head to my left and decided I would just go to sleep now.”

Schuman said she kept the incident a secret from the public for years but felt moved to come forward with her story after dozens of victims of sexual assault came forward to accuse other public figures.

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