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Elmo puppeteer accused of underage sexual relationship

Emmy winner Kevin Clash denies charges.

By Parenting Magazine Nov 12, 2012 4:46PM

by Brian at Parenting.com

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who has given life to Elmo on Sesame Street since 1984, has taken a leave of absence from the show amid allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenage boy.

Clash vehemently denies the charges, made in June by a 23-year-old man who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Clash when he was 16 years old. 

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesClash has admitted that he had a relationship with the young man, but insists it took place only after the accuser was an adult.

In a statement, Sesame Workshop said an investigation into the matter "found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated."

More from Parenting: Protect your child against sexual abuse

TMZ broke the news on Monday that Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with the accuser, who claims he and Clash began the sexual relationship seven years ago.  

In light of the allegations, Clash will be taking a leave of absence from Sesame Street for the foreseeable future.

Clash, 52, has won several Emmy awards for his work as Elmo over the last 28 years and gained fame in his own right after being featured in the award-winning 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, which chronicles how he turned the little red monster into an icon for millions of kids.

The statement by Sesame Workshop reads, in full:

"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.

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."

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Tell us on Facebook: What do you think about the accusations?

Bing: Read more about the accusations.

More from Parenting:

An open letter to Big Bird

The best Sesame Street music videos

5Comments
Nov 13, 2012 12:16AM
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I don't like seeing companies take such quick action in these cases.  I believe in innocent until proven guilty, ESPECIALLY in celebrity attacks.  Whether innocent or guilty, he shouldn't be removed until everything comes to light.
Nov 12, 2012 10:55PM
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This is what Sesame Street is promoting to our children. How to get molested and love it.

 

They probably knew about this years ago and swept it under the carpet.

Nov 12, 2012 10:48PM
Nov 12, 2012 10:35PM
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We always knew Elmo was GAY!!

Now it's out of the closet!

 

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