Horatio Sanz Accused of Sexual Assault in Lawsuit

Photo: Mediapunch/Shutterstock/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

SNL alum Horatio Sanz has been accused of sexual assault in a new lawsuit, TMZ reports. According to the complaint obtained by Vulture — which was filed on August 12 and also names NBCUniversal and SNL Studios as defendants — Sanz is accused of assaulting a 17-year-old girl in May 2002, groping and digitally penetrating her after allegedly supplying her with alcohol at an SNL after-party. The lawsuit was filed by the accuser as Jane Doe, a woman from Pennsylvania who says she first came into contact with Sanz when she was 15 and running an SNL fan site.

SNL declined to comment on legal matters to Vulture. Sanz’s attorney called the allegations “categorically false” in a statement provided to Vulture. “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,” wrote attorney Andrew Brettler. “Before filing this lawsuit anonymously, she demanded $7.5 million in exchange for her silence. We, of course, refused and will vigorously contest these totally meritless claims.”

According to the complaint, Sanz and the anonymous woman met in person in 2000 after an SNL taping, at which point Sanz allegedly became “flirtatious and physically affectionate with the then 15-year-old Plaintiff by kissing her cheek and putting his hands on her waist.” The accuser alleges that she was permitted entry to an SNL after-party in 2001 when she was 16 and was served alcohol, with Sanz and other cast members witnessing her drinking while underage.

The lawsuit states that the following week, on May 19, 2001, the accuser was permitted by cast members to attend an after-party within NBC Studios. On this date, the suit claims Sanz was “sitting on a couch telling stories to a group of approximately 6-10 people, including NBC employees,” when he allegedly guided the accuser “to sit on his lap with her legs positioned between his legs and his arm around her hips, waist, and buttocks where he continued to tell stories.” Later, the lawsuit claims, Sanz “hovered near Plaintiff and leered at her as the sun rose over New York” on the 30 Rock rooftop.

The lawsuit also claims that on August 23, 2001, the anonymous woman was contacted by a friend, also a teenager, who had received messages on AOL Instant Messenger from someone who was later confirmed to be Sanz. After that, Sanz and the accuser began communicating via AIM, where he allegedly asked her to keep their conversations secret. “Don’t tell anybody. Promise?” the lawsuit claims Sanz wrote, going on to begin referring to the accuser as “dear” and commenting, “Maybe Lorne will give you his tickets.” The lawsuit calls this part of a continued “grooming process” Sanz employed in which he also leaked information regarding future SNL hosts and musical guests that the accuser then posted on her website.

Over AIM, Sanz allegedly began regularly and repeatedly asking for photos of the accuser and encouraged her to take “revealing photographs and photographs that depicted her as more mature,” according to the lawsuit. Sanz then “steered conversations to discuss sex, sexual experiences, sexual activities, sexual fantasies, masturbation, and Sanz’s instruction of Plaintiff (16) in sexual acts.”

The suit also states the accuser continued to attend SNL after-parties where she consumed alcohol in the presence of Sanz and then-SNL cast member Jimmy Fallon. At one such event, she allegedly sat with Fallon and others in a VIP area, where she consumed a Budweiser beer and shared calamari with Fallon. When she told Fallon she was in high school, he allegedly discussed her upcoming SAT with her and asked what she intended to study in college.

In May 2002, the suit alleges that Sanz provided alcohol to the accuser and they attended two SNL parties together. One was hosted at a cast member’s loft, where the suit claims Sanz put his arm around the accuser in front of the other guests. He also allegedly groped her breasts and buttocks and digitally penetrated her. “Plaintiff did not and could not expressly or impliedly acquiesce in the Defendant’s sexual touching,” the suit states. It also alleges that NBC employees attending the party observed this happening, with one allegedly commenting, “Are you f**ing serious?”

Years later, the suit alleges, in the summer of 2019, the accuser ran into Sanz at a comedy event in New York, where he “admitted to engaging in frequent ‘cybersex’ with her” and to masturbating during their chats. On November 27, 2019, the suit claims, Sanz said in a text-message conversation that he “felt terrible about” hooking up with her when she was 16, that he was “very sorry,” and that “I was a creep but a wounded creep. And I’ve tried to make amends since quitting drinking.” Among other messages Sanz allegedly sent include one saying that he would “swear on a stack of improv books … I’m a different person,” that he was “very immature and had very limited sexual awareness,” and that he “wasn’t really thinking. But I really didn’t do that with others. It was a f***ing big mistake. I’m very sorry. If you want to metoo me you have every right. Just believe me I’m not like that anymore.”

Horatio Sanz Accused of Sexual Assault in Lawsuit