The voice of “Sesame Street’s” Elmo is facing shocking allegations of having sex with a minor.
A 23-year-old man has come forward claiming he had a sexual relationship with puppeteer Kevin Clash that began seven years ago when he was 16 and Clash was 45, according to TMZ.
Clash adamantly denies allegations that he had sex with a teenage boy — but he does admit he had a sexual relationship with the accuser after he was an adult.
“Elmo” has taken a leave of absence from “Sesame Street” while the investigation is under way.
A source from Sesame Workshop tells TMZ: “In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action.”
Officials from Sesame Workshop have met with the accuser twice, in addition to other communications, and have determined the man’s claims are unsubstantiated.
The accuser has since hired lawyers from Andreozzi and Associates, the firm that represented one of the accusers in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case, says TMZ, who also reports that the firm is going after Sesame for trying to “silence” their client to protect the image of Elmo, one of today’s most popular children’s characters.
In a letter sent to Sesame in August, the alleged victim’s lawyers accused the company of trying to “discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters,” and that “This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man.”
Calling the allegations “false” and “defamatory,” Kevin Clash tells TMZ:
“I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”