Comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Horatio Sanz is accused of grooming and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old in 2002, according to a lawsuit filed in New York on Thursday.
The plaintiff – referred to as Jane Doe – chose not to disclose her identity in the filing because, according to the lawsuit, she was a minor at the time of the alleged non-consensual sexual contact.
In 1999, when she was 14 years old, the alleged victim “started posting on various online websites, message boards and chat rooms about SNL,” the lawsuit says. In January 2000, Sanz and one of his colleagues emailed the girl, and thereafter Sanz “began his process of grooming Plaintiff,” including an October 2000 in-person meeting after a taping of the show, according to the lawsuit.
Sanz is accused of engaging with the minor on AOL Instant Messenger in 2001 and steering those “conversations to discuss sex, sexual experiences, sexual activities, sexual fantasies, (and) masturbation” with the then-16-year-old, and “continued to solicit inappropriate photographs” of her.
In May 2002, the lawsuit alleges Sanz sexually abused the then-17-year-old by “kissing her, groping her breasts, groping her buttocks, and digitally penetrating her genitals forcibly and without Plaintiff’s consent” at and after SNL parties.
Sanz’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, denies the claims made against his client, referring to them in a statement as “categorically false.”
The lawsuit – which requests a jury trial in New York County Supreme Court because it seeks damages in a sum that exceeds the limits of all lower courts – also names NBCUniversal and SNL Studios as defendants, as Sanz is their former employee. The lawsuit alleges both NBC and SNL “permitted and enabled” Sanz to groom and harm the girl.
NBC does not comment on legal matters, and Lorne Michaels, SNL’s show creator, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
CNN’s Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.