NHL team owner denies he paid underage dancer for sex, latest accusation in Boston Ballet legal drama
Daryl Katz, owner of Edmonton Oilers, has denied the claim that he paid an underage ballerina at least $75,000 for “sexual favours,” a claim made in a civil lawsuit brought by two famous ballerinas who are being sued themselves for alleged sexual misconduct.
It’s the latest accusation in an ongoing legal battle involving former Boston ballerina Sage Humphries, who filed a federal civil suit last year Against dance coach Mitchell Taylor Patton and the former principal dancer of the Boston Ballet, Dusty Patton, Patton’s wife.
Humphries claimed in her lawsuit that Buttons cared for her as a young dancer before he sexually assaulted her.
Earlier this month, Buttons’ lawyers filed a counter-suit denying the allegations, but said Humphreys was victimized — not just by their clients.
“To the extent that Sage Humphries alleges that she was abused and trafficked in sex, Buttons agree — however, this abuse and trafficking was not at their own hands, but at the hands of a series of older men,” Pattons’ attorney, Mark Randaza, wrote in the counterclaim.
“If the Sage is the truly damaged flower that it claims to be, the price must be paid – but it must be paid by those who have already engaged in illegal acts with it.”
Randaza said Katz “paid at least $75,000 for her sexual services while remaining underage.”
“Humphreys was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire, and her mother helped her launder the money she had paid and smuggled into Katz,” according to Randaza.
Robert Kliger, a Los Angeles-based attorney for Cutts, rejected the Buttons’ claim in a lengthy statement to NBC News on Thursday.
Daryl Katz denies the allegations made against him by Mitchell Taylor Patton and Dusty Patton without reservation. There was no sexual relationship of any kind between Mr. Katz and Mrs. Humphreys,” according to Kliger.
“Crucially, the allegations against Mr. Cutts are not coming from Ms. Humphreys,” Kleijer said. Instead, the accusations were brought by Pattons, who was accused by Mrs. Humphries and six other women of exploiting a position of power and influence in the dance world to sexually abuse young dancers across the country.
“Mr. Cutts has never met Buttons, and their false accusations against him are a transparent and pathetic attempt to divert attention from the abhorrent acts of which they are accused.”
In the counterclaim, the buttons included images of text messages, allegedly between Katz and Humphreys, with the Oilers owner creating a UBS account in her name and depositing $75,000.
Katz allegedly wrote: “You are a perfect sage. That’s what scares me.”
While there’s nothing on the show that mentions gender, the message appears to show Katz asking for secrecy: “And what’s just between us? Though you’re wise beyond your years given the ages of both of us, it would be taken the wrong way.”
Humphreys replied, “Yes…just between us.”
Randaza declined to comment when reached via email by NBC News on Thursday.
There was no timestamp on the purported text messages, but the counter-suit said that Katz, now 61, was 53 at the time of the digital chat.
Humphreys turns 24 later this year and would have been under the age of majority in several US states eight years ago.
Katz Kliger’s lawyer tried to discredit the text messages.
“With regard to the transcripts, we were not able to validate the transcripts, and they were clearly presented in a way that would have been remarkably easy,” according to Kliger.
Humphreys’ attorney, Sigrid McCoy, flatly rejected Buttons’ allegations that her client had sex with Katz.
“Sage had a working relationship with Mr. Katz and there was no sexual relationship between them,” McCauley told NBC News on Thursday.
The attorney said that her client and Katz were discussing film projects and that the dancer may have received money from the NHL executive in connection with that proposed business deal.
But McCauley on Thursday declined to address the legitimacy of those alleged text messages: “I can’t say if they’re legitimate at this point.”
In a written statement, McCauley described Buttons’ allegations as desperation.
According to McCauley, “Just as abusers face serious litigation, with four walls of truth sealed off, buttons have filed counterclaims that distract and distort the truth.”
“Attackers often attempt to weaponize the allegations against them, and that is exactly what is happening here. Counterclaims falsely and recklessly made by Buttons imply the involvement of others, including Daryl Katz, and are a baseless attempt to portray the abused women as Liars.”