Story Summary

Voice of Elmo Accused of Inappropriate Relationship

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who provides the voice for Elmo on “Sesame Street” was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy.

The accuser later agreed to a settlement out of court.

However, a few days later another accuser filed a lawsuit in New York City.

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The voice of Elmo has taken a leave of absence after accusations of an inappropriate relationship, which have since been recanted.
Courtesy: http://interactive.wxxi.org/

NEW YORK CITY (CNN)-

Three lawsuits filed against former Sesame Street “Elmo” voice actor Kevin Clash have been dismissed, a clerk with Manhattan District court said Monday.

They were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

Sesame Street had no comment on the matter. CNN has reached out to Kevin Clash for comment as well

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Hasbro Elmo Toys – Let’s Rock Elmo(CNN) — The puppeteer who gave Sesame Street’s Elmo his voice allegedly threw a crystal meth sex party for a teenage boy in 2004, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.

Sheldon Stephens, now 24, is the fourth man to sue Kevin Clash, but he was the first one to publicly claim he had a sexual relationship with him as a teen.

Stephens’ lawsuit is “meritless and barred by the statute of limitations,” Clash lawyer Michael Berger told CNN Tuesday. “Mr. Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing, and we intend to defend this case forcefully.”

Although Stephens called it an “an adult consensual relationship” last November, the revelation triggered Clash’s suspension from Sesame Street and eventually his resignation.

Clash, who provided the high-pitched voice of the iconic furry red Elmo since 1984, acknowledged a relationship between “two consenting adults” when Stephens’ story first emerged, but he said it otherwise was a “false and defamatory allegation.”

“I am a gay man,” Clash, 52, said in a statement in November. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”

Three other men soon emerged with federal lawsuits, filed last November and December, accusing Clash of befriending them as teenager then engaging in sex with them. They are all represented by Florida lawyer Jeff Herman, who also filed Stephens’ lawsuit Monday.

Clash’s lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss the three other suits based on his argument that the men waited too long to sue. The federal statute of limitations on such civil cases is six years, while their allegations involve relationships that ended more than 10 years ago, Berger said in a court filing this month.

Each lawsuit contends that the men only realized in the last year or so that they suffered psychological and emotional damage from their encounters with Clash.

“Clash was an adult male living a prominent public life centered around the entertainment of toddlers, while at the same time he was, in secret, preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests,” the Stephens suit alleged.

While the allegations in the newest suit mirror what the other men contend, Stephens’ complaint is the only one to allege drug use by Clash.

“Clash smoked crystal meth while engaging in sexual activity with Sheldon,” the lawsuit said. “Clash also gave Sheldon ‘poppers’ as a sexual aide. While Clash had sexual contact with Sheldon, the chauffeur watched and masturbated.” “Poppers” generally refers to alkyl nitrites in capsule form that produce a physical rush when broken and inhaled: crystal meth refers to crystal methamphetamine.

Stephens was 16 when he met Clash in New York “at a social networking event for models and actors,” the suit said.

“Clash told Sheldon he would help Sheldon with his acting career,” it said.

Clash resigned from his job on “Sesame Street” after the first lawsuit was filed in November.

“I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart,” Clash said in a written statement at the time. “I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

Despite his stepping down, Clash’s voice will be used for Elmo through 2014, as the next season of “Sesame Street” has already been filmed.

By Alan Duke. CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

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The voice of Elmo has taken a leave of absence after accusations of an inappropriate relationship, which have since been recanted.
Courtesy: http://interactive.wxxi.org/

NEW YORK (CNN) -

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street,” resigned Tuesday after a man filed a lawsuit accusing him of conducting an underage sexual relationship.

The lawsuit was filed in a New York court Tuesday, a week after another accuser recanted his claim that Clash, now 52, engaged him in underage sex.

“I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart,” Clash said in a written statement Tuesday. “I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

The Sesame Workshop also issued a statement announcing his resignation. “This is a sad day for Sesame Street,” it said.

In the lawsuit, Cecil Singleton alleged that Clash “persuaded, induced, coerced or enticed” him to meet for sexual encounters when he was 15 years old.

“Kevin Clash preyed on vulnerable teenage boys, like Cecil Singleton, to satisfy his depraved sexual interests,” attorney Jeff Herman said. “By coming forward now, Cecil hopes to spare the lives of others like him and to begin his own healing process.”

The suit seeks $5 million in damages from Clash, alleging that Singleton “suffered severe injuries, including but not limited to mental, psychological and emotional trauma.”

The earlier accuser — who never filed a lawsuit — issued a statement through a lawyer last week saying he “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”

The man, now 23, had told Sesame Workshop in June that he started a relationship with Clash as a teenager, according to the workshop, which announced that a thorough investigation found “the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.”

When the first accusation emerged, Clash acknowledged a relationship between “two consenting adults” but said the man otherwise was making a “false and defamatory allegation.”

“I am a gay man,” Clash said in a statement. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”

The lawsuit alleged that Singleton, then 15, began communicating with Clash when he called a gay chat line seeking friends in 2003.

“During these telephone calls, Kevin Clash persuaded, induced, coerced or enticed Cecil Singleton to meet him for sexual encounters,” the complaint said.

Clash “groomed Cecil and gained his trust by, among other things, taking him to nice dinners and giving him money,” the suit said.

The two met “on numerous occasions over a period of years” and engaged in sexual activity, the suit said.

Clash is the high-pitched voice of the iconic furry red Elmo, whom he’s been playing since 1984, winning Emmy Awards along the way.

He was the third Muppeteer to take on the role.

Clash also was Sesame Street’s senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain, the “Sesame Street” website says.

A documentary, “Being Elmo,” focused on his story.

In an interview previously posted on the website of NYC Dads, an initiative of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Clash spoke about how he worked to spend time with his daughter, who lives with his ex-wife outside Baltimore.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

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The voice of Elmo has taken a leave of absence after accusations of an inappropriate relationship, which have since been recanted.
Courtesy: http://interactive.wxxi.org/

(CNN)-

A man who alleged he was 16 when he started a relationship with the puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street” now says it was an “adult consensual relationship,” according to his lawyers.

The man, now 23, had told Sesame Workshop in June that he started a relationship with Kevin Clash as a teenager, according to the workshop. The workshop announced on Monday that a thorough investigation found “the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.”

On Tuesday, a law firm saying it represented the man released a statement saying he “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”

“We will have no further comment on the matter,” the statement from Pennsylvania law firm Andreozzi & Associates said.

Clash, 52, and the Sesame Workshop responded Tuesday with statements of their own.

“I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further,” Clash said in a message released by his representative.

“We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode,” the workshop said on its website.

A day earlier, both Sesame Workshop and Clash indicated the man was claiming that he was a teenager when Clash began a relationship with him. Clash acknowledged a relationship between “two consenting adults,” but said the man otherwise was making a “false and defamatory allegation.”

“I am a gay man,” Clash said in a statement issued Monday. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.

“I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.”

Both Clash and Sesame Workshop said Monday that Clash was taking a leave of absence to deal with the allegation and protect his reputation. The show told CNN on Tuesday that it had no comment on when Clash would return.

Clash is the high-pitched voice of the iconic furry red Elmo, whom he’s been playing since 1984, winning Emmy Awards along the way.

He was the third Muppeteer to take on the role.

Clash is also Sesame Street’s senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain, the “Sesame Street” website says.

A documentary, “Being Elmo,” focused on his story.

In an interview previously posted on the website of NYC Dads, an initiative of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he spoke about how he worked to spend time with his daughter, who lives with his ex-wife outside Baltimore.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

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™ & ©2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The voice of Elmo has taken a leave of absence after accusations of an inappropriate relationship.
Courtesy: http://interactive.wxxi.org/

(CNN) — The puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo is on a leave of absence from Sesame Street after denying he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.

Sesame Street Workshop says it found the allegation against Kevin Clash “unsubstantiated,” and granted him leave as he takes “actions to protect his reputation.”

In June, the workshop heard from a 23-year-old man who claimed that he had “a relationship” with Clash beginning when he was 16 years old, the workshop said in a statement posted on its website Monday.

The statement did not use the word “sexual.”

“We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined,” the Sesame Street Workshop statement said.

“Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.

“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.”

CNN could not reach Clash immediately for a response. TMZ reported that Clash said his relationship with the accuser “was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”

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