Comedian Horatio Sanz has been accused in a lawsuit of grooming and sexually assaulting a teenage girl while he was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and the suit alleges that other staff and talent, including one now high profile night show host, knew about the situation but did nothing.
Sanz was on SNL from 1998-2005. The suit alleges that the girl, who remains anonymous, classified as Jane Doe, was an SNL superfan and ran a website about the show, NBC News reported. In January 2000, the suit claims that Sanz and Jimmy Fallon, a fellow cast member at the time, emailed then 15 year old Jane Doe from an official NBC account.
While the email was not disclosed, the case alleges that Sanz , then 31, “began his process of grooming” the teen and in October 2000, they met in person following a taping of SNL. Sanz was allegedly inappropriate in his behavior, “flirtatious and physically affectionate” when he met with the girl. The suit claims he kissed her on the cheek and put his hands on her waist.
Doe and Sanz continued their communications according to the lawsuit, which states that for rest of 2000 into 2001, Doe would travel from her Pennsylvania home to Rockefeller Center in New York to wait on line for standby tickets to the show.
When Doe turned 16 in May 2001, the suit alleges that she was allowed into an SNL party where Sanz and other cast members including Fallon, witnessed the girl imbibing but did not intervene. The lawsuit claims that the cast members “knew or should have known that Plaintiff was under the legal drinking age.”
The unnamed girl attended several other SNL parties where she partook in drinking alcohol and drugs the suit notes, according to NBC News. It goes on to specify a May 2001 party where Sanz allegedly “signaled Plaintiff over and guided her to sit on his lap” while he told a story to a large group of about 10 NBC employees who did not intervene when Sanz put his arms around her hips, waist and buttocks.
After the May 2001 party, the suit claims Sanz began reaching out to the plaintiff on Instant Messenger and would send her leaks on SNL hosts and musical guests for her website. Those messages, “started an incessant exchange of communications in which defendant Sanz groomed and molested Plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit.
At a later party, the suit alleges that the plaintiff and Fallon discussed her plans following her high school graduation. If true, it’s a damning conversation that implicates the now weekly night show host.
“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.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Sanz “regularly and repeatedly asked for photos of her,” and continues “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.”
One May 2002 encounter is detailed in the lawsuit and claims that the plaintiff attended two SNL parties where Sanz allegedly sexually assaulted her by “kissing her, groping her breasts, groping her buttocks, and digitally penetrating her genitals” all without her consent.
The suit claims the alleged assault happened in front of several NBC employees, one allegedly remarking to Sanz, “Are you f—— serious?”
The plaintiff claims to have sought professional treatment after becoming “depressed, ashamed and self-loathing.”
In 2019, the plaintiff ran into Sanz at a comedy event where she alleges he “admitted and bragged to plaintiff that he masturbated during their conversations when she was underage,” according to the suit.
The suit claims that Sanz later apologized to the plaintiff for actions in a series of texts. One allegedly read, “I was a creep but a wounded creep. And I’ve tried to make amends since quitting drinking.”
“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,” Sanz’s attorney Andrew Brettler said before calling the claims “totally meritless” according to an NBC report.
Brettler said in his statement that prior to the lawsuit being filed, that the girl demanded $7.5 million “in exchange for her silence,” but he and Sanz refused.
Fallon’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While the allegations remain unproven and have yet to proceed in court, NBC has been under scrutiny in the past for misconduct of other high profile male talent including former TODAY Show anchor Matt Lauer, Hardball anchor Chris Matthews, Matt Zimmerman former senior vice president for booking at the network, and NBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin.
The comedian, SNL Studios and NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, are all listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
Brettler, stated that the allegations were “categorically false”, while SNL Studios and NBC Universal refrain from commenting on pending litigation.
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