SAN JOSE -- A Santa Clara man who claims to be the biological father of Audrie Pott, the Saratoga 15-year-old who killed herself after being sexually assaulted by three boys at a house party, wants to join the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the girl's parents, Sheila and Larry Pott.

Michael Lazarin, who filed the paperwork to join the lawsuit without a lawyer, said he isn't in it for the money but rather to be considered Audrie's rightful heir. That way, says Lazarin, he can finally get more information from the Potts about his late daughter, whom he wasn't allowed to see since she was 8 years old.

"I am Audrie Pott's biological father," Lazarin said on Thursday. "They are interested in money. I am not. I want access to knowledge. I want to know where my daughter is buried. I want to know what was being told to my daughter when I was not allowed to see her."

But Robert Allard, the attorney for the Pott family, said the lawsuit is "part of an apparent money grab. The fact that no lawyer is willing to take his case sufficiently demonstrates its lack of any merit whatsoever. Mr. Larry Pott is and always has been the legal father to Audrie. End of story."

Lewd scrawls

The suicide of Audrie Pott made national headlines as an example of the consequences of teen-age drinking, bad behavior and easy access to cameras and social media. In September 2012, Audrie drank too much vodka at a house party and passed out in a bedroom upstairs. Three teenage boys then partially stripped her, scrawled lewd notes on her body, took pictures, and sexually assaulted her. The boys were charged in juvenile court. Two of them served 30, weekend days in juvenile hall and one served 45 consecutive days.

The Pott family filed a wrongful death lawsuit a year ago, saying the boys were to blame for Audrie's death. Audrie had spent the week before she killed herself sending out Facebook messages saying her life was over after what had happened at the party. The girl feared the photos had circulated and "everybody knew."

The Potts are suing for unspecified monetary damages charging defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.

In court papers, lawyers for the boys have said that Audrie's parents, not the boys, are to blame and said that Larry Pott, who raised Audrie, had no standing to file a wrongful death claim because he is not the biological father. Larry Pott has declined to comment on Audrie's paternity.

Lazarin had sued for paternity when Audrie was 6, but his case was thrown out because the statute of limitations expired when Audrie was 2.

Photos in lawsuit

According to court documents, Lazarin began a romantic relationship with Sheila Pott when she was separated from Larry Pott. Sheila and Larry Pott, however, agreed to raise Audrie.

Lazarin claims that Sheila Pott knew Audrie was his daughter -- she had a similar dark complexion -- and allowed Lazarin to spend time with her in the early years. In the lawsuit, he shows photographs of himself with Audrie on several vacations, including to Disneyland.

The photographs also show the child with Lazarin's extended family. "For no good reason," he said, his side of the girl's family has been left in the dark for years.

"I filed the lawsuit because I want to know what Audrie was told about her grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins," Lazarin said. "Is that reasonable? Is that asking for too much?"

Lazarin blamed Sheila for shutting him out of Audrie's life when she got back together with Larry Pott. Larry and Sheila Pott divorced in 2004. Larry Pott remarried and has three young children. Audrie split time between her mother's house and the Pott house.

Lazarin's lawsuit will come up for review on Aug. 19.

"Mr. Lazarin has decided to commit a cheap stunt designed to deflect the responsibility of the actions of the defendants and their parents,'' Allard said in his statement. "Our focus remains on holding these young men responsible for their actions in a court of law. We will publicly comment no further about this side show."

Julia Prodis Sulek contributed to this article. Contact David E. Early at 408-920-5836