[Note: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]
Actor, comedian, and former Saturday Night Live star Horatio Sanz has been sued by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 years old. Per TMZ, the Pennsylvania woman—who’s filing her suit as a Jane Doe—allegedly met Sanz in the early 2000s, when she was a regular on SNL fan sites as a teenager. She says that her first contact with Sanz came when he and Jimmy Fallon reached out to her when she was 15, sending her the first of several emails from their official NBC email accounts. “Thereafter,” the suit asserts, “Defendant SANZ began his process of grooming Plaintiff.”
The lawsuit (which you can read here) lays out that process, which allegedly began in earnest after Jane Doe got access to an SNL after-party in 2001, where she was served alcohol despite being 16, and where she allegedly drew Sanz’s attention. Soon, per the suit, he was putting her on after-party guest lists regularly, encouraging her to drink, and engaging in long AOL Instant Messenger conversations that he repeatedly steered in a sexual direction, asking her for sexually explicit photographs. At a party in 2002, when she was 17, Sanz then allegedly “groped her breasts and her butt and digitally penetrated her without her consent.” The woman is suing both Sanz and NBC and SNL Studios, alleging that the latter two entities were aware of the actor’s behavior toward her, and that multiple employees both knew she was underage, and drinking, at these parties. (Fallon is called out by name as knowing she was a junior in high school while she was drinking in his company.)
Sanz—who currently has a recurring part on Showtime’s Black Monday, and who appears in the recently delayed Clifford The Big Red Dog movie—issued a statement denying the allegations through his lawyer today. Said statement calls the accusations “categorically false” and “ludicrous,” with Sanz’s attorney asserting to TMZ that, “Before filing this lawsuit anonymously, [the accuser] demanded $7.5 million in exchange for her silence. We, of course, refused and will vigorously contest these totally meritless claims.”
The accuser in the case has said that she struggled for several years in the aftermath of the assault, and that Sanz admitted to having had “cybersex” with her when they spoke about the incidents in 2019. The lawsuit also quotes multiple purported text messages exchanged with Sanz in which he says he’s “feeling terrible” about their past interactions, and claiming to have changed as a person.
Neither NBC, nor SNL, have commented on the suit so far.