The comedian Horatio Sanz is accused in a lawsuit of grooming a teenage girl and sexually assaulting her while he was a cast member on "Saturday Night Live."
The suit was filed Thursday in New York City Supreme Court in Manhattan and obtained by NBC News via the girl's attorney. It alleges the girl was assaulted on numerous occasions beginning in 2000 when she was 15 and Sanz, who was on the show from 1998 to 2006, was 31. The comedian, SNL Studios and NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, are listed as defendants.
Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Sanz, said in a statement that the allegations are "categorically false." SNL Studios and NBCUniversal said they do not comment on legal matters.
The lawsuit alleges that the girl, identified as Jane Doe, was a superfan of "SNL" and would post about the show on a website she ran. In January 2000, Sanz and fellow cast mate Jimmy Fallon emailed the 15-year-old from an NBC account, according to the suit.
It does not state the nature of the email but alleges Sanz then "began his process of grooming" the teen. In October of that year, she met with Sanz at NBC following a taping of "SNL," the lawsuit states.
Sanz, according to the suit, was “flirtatious and physically affectionate” with the girl and kissed her on the cheek and put his hands on her waist. The lawsuit says he was 31 years old at the time.
For the remainder of 2000 and going into 2001, the girl would travel from her home in Pennsylvania to New York to wait in the standby line for tickets to "SNL," the lawsuit claims.
In May 2001, when she was 16, the girl was allowed into an "SNL" party, according to the lawsuit. It claims that Sanz and other cast members, including Fallon, saw the girl drinking alcohol but did not stop her. According to the suit, they either "knew or should have known that Plaintiff was under the legal drinking age.”
Fallon's team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The girl was then invited to several other "SNL" parties where she was served alcohol and would engage in drug use, the suit states.
At one party in May 2001, Sanz allegedly "signaled Plaintiff over and guided her to sit on his lap" while he told a story to a group of roughly 10 people, including NBC employees, the lawsuit said. It alleges that Sanz had his arms around the teen's hips, waist and buttocks and no one intervened.
About three months after the party, Sanz allegedly began contacting the girl on Instant Messenger and would send her leaks on "SNL" hosts and musical guests to post on her website, the lawsuit states.
It says that the messages "started an incessant exchange of communications in which defendant Sanz groomed and molested Plaintiff."
"In these communications with plaintiff, Sanz regularly and repeatedly asked for photos of her," the suit alleges.
“Defendant Sanz exchanged messages with plaintiff and steered conversations to discuss sex, sexual experiences, sexual activities, sexual fantasies, masturbation and Sanz's instruction of plaintiff in sexual acts.”
The lawsuit goes on to describe several more instances of the girl attending "SNL" parties, including one where she and Fallon allegedly discussed what she planned on doing after graduating high school.
“Plaintiff was never asked by anyone for identification before being served alcohol and, despite plaintiff being underage, she was continually permitted by NBC employees to consume alcohol and attend the parties regularly, including on at least four occasions in winter and spring of 2002," the lawsuit says.
In May 2002, Sanz allegedly gave the girl, then 17, a ride in a limousine. The lawsuit says she attended two "SNL" parties and Sanz allegedly acted inappropriately by "kissing her, groping her breasts, groping her buttocks, and digitally penetrating her genitals" without her consent.
The lawsuit alleges that the assault happened around several attendees, including NBC employees. It says that one person who witnessed it said to Sanz, “Are you f------ serious?”
The girl became "depressed, ashamed and self-loathing" and sought treatment, the lawsuit states. It says that in 2019, the girl ran into Sanz at a comedy event. He allegedly "admitted and bragged to plaintiff that he masturbated during their conversations when she was underage," according to the suit.
It claims that Sanz later sent the girl text messages apologizing for his actions. "I was a creep but a wounded creep. And I’ve tried to make amends since quitting drinking,” one alleged text read.
Sanz's attorney said in his statement that prior to the lawsuit being filed, the girl demanded $7.5 million "in exchange for her silence," and that Sanz and his attorney refused.
"However often she repeats her ludicrous allegations or tries to rope in other high-profile names to generate media attention, they will always be false," Brettler said, calling the claims "totally meritless."
The lawsuit also accuses another "SNL" cast member of openly sexually harassing the accuser's friend when she was 17 and alleges a person with NBCUniversal's Page Program grabbed the accuser "sexually." The suit does not name the other cast member or the person in the program, which is designed to prepare early-career professionals for entry-level roles at the company.