Sept. 22, 2010 -- He's half of one of the entertainment industry's most iconic duos, but new sexual harassment allegations are threatening to rip Roy Horn's reputation to shreds.
Horn, best known as 50 percent of the tiger-wrangling stage sensation Siegfried and Roy, is being sued by one of his former assistants, Oliver Preiss. Priess claims he was fired in April, shortly after the illusionists announced they were leaving show business, following years of rebuffing what he says were Horn's numerous sexual advances.
In a complaint filed in Nevada's Clark County Court on Sept. 17 and obtained by ABCNews.com, Preiss lays out a number of shocking claims, including allegations that Horn and his stage partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, made repeated "requests for sex," that Horn "made sexual advances towards all male assistants," that Horn "forced his assistants to join him in watching pornographic videos at night" and that Horn "groped" Priess, "inside and outside of Priess' clothing."
The legal documents also state that surveillance videos of Seigfried and Roy's workplace show "rampant sexual harassment, sexual assaults" and "lewd and lascivious conduct," among other specific sex acts.
Like Horn, 65, and Fischbacher, 71, who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany, the complaint states that Priess is a German citizen who moved to Las Vegas in 2008. He initially ran a company specializing in Las Vegas tours for German visitors before meeting Fischbacher "in the street," according to the legal documents, and joining Siegfried and Roy.
According to the complaint, as a result of Horn's alleged harassment, Priess now suffers from anxiety so extreme that he's outfitted his home with multiple alarm systems, cameras and bullet-proof windows at a cost of $30,000. The documents state that Priess' relationship with his wife, Beatrice, who is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, has been irreparably damaged. They're seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
Asked to respond to the lawsuit, Sharon Nelson, Horn's attorney, told ABCNews.com, "No comment." Priess' attorney, Mike Meier, told ABCNews.com he "cannot comment on the matter at this point."
Troubles Haunt Siegfried and Roy
Preiss' allegations are the latest troubles to plague Horn. Seven years ago, he was savagely mauled by one of Siegfried and Roy's prized tigers during a live show at Las Vegas' Steve Wynn-owned Mirage Hotel and Casino. Montecore, a 380-pound white tiger that Horn had trained for years, sank its teeth into the magician's neck at an October 2003 performance, hauling him offstage while the audience recoiled in horror.
For Horn, the incident was almost life-ending. He was left partially paralyzed after the tiger attack prompted a stroke, damaged Horn's neck artery and crushed his windpipe. Doctors removed a portion of Horn's skull to alleviate pressure on his brain, raising questions about how fully he'd be able to recover.
But for Siegfried and Roy, the mauling proved fatal -- Horn and Fischbacher abruptly ended their 13-year-long run at the Mirage after that performance. After Horn went through years of physical therapy and regained, at least partially, the ability to walk, he and Fischbacher reuinted with Montecore in 2009 for a brief charity performance. They officially bowed out of showbusiness earlier this year.
"The last time we closed, we didn't have a lot of warning," the duo's longtime manager Bernie Yuman said in a statement in April. "This is farewell. This is the dot at the end of the sentence."
But according to Priess' complaint, Horn's 2003 injury didn't impair his ability to allegedly assault his assistants.
"Despite the injuries suffered during the tiger attack, [Horn] still has full strength in his right arm."