Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash's accuser recants underage sex allegation
The man who accused Kevin Clash, the puppeteer and voice of popular "Sesame Street" character Elmo, of having sex with him when he was a teenager now says their relationship occurred when he was an adult and adds that it was consensual.
The person, who is now in his early 20s, made his comments via a statement through the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania law firm Andreozzi & Associates, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, adding that he did not reveal his identity.
Clash, 52, had denied the original accusation of underage conduct and said on Tuesday, November 13, in response to the man's retraction, that he is "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest."
Sesame Workshop, a non-profit organization that produces the show, had announced on Monday that the company had "received a communication from a then-23-year-old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old" with Clash and that the puppeteer and voice actor had taken a leave of absence from the children's television show in order to take actions to "protect his reputation."
Sesame Workshop had also stated that the company had "conducted a thorough investigation of the matter and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated."
"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 group said on its website on Tuesday.
Sesame Workshop has not announced when Clash will return to "Sesame Street."
Clash, who has a young adult daughter with his ex-wife, has portrayed the furry red character Elmo, who has also been featured in films and on other shows and also spurred the popular "Tickle Me Elmo" doll, since 1984. He won eight Daytime Emmys for the role.
Clash has also provided the voice of Baby Sinclair from the 1990s series "Dinosaurs," Splinter from the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movies and several characters, including a Fiery and Ambrosius the sheepdog, in the 1987 cult film "Labyrinth."