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"Elmo" accuser recants sex abuse claim against puppeteer Kevin Clash

Longtime Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" on Nov. 20, 2012, amid allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy. Clash denied the allegations, which were first made in June 2012 by the accuser, who is now 23 years old. Sesame Workshop called the controversy surrounding Clash's personal life "a distraction that none of us want," leading Clash to conclude "that he can no longer be effective in his job." Since the scandal began, three more accusers have come forward, with the latest accuser filing a lawsuit on Dec. 10, 2012 alleging that he had a sexual relationship with Clash in 1995 when the victim was 16 years old. File, AP Photo/Victoria Will

"Sesame Street" muppet Elmo and puppeteer Kevin Clash
AP Photo/Victoria Will, file

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - The man who had accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with him when he was a teen has recanted, saying through his attorneys that they had a consensual relationship which did not begin until he was an adult.

PICTURES: Elmo puppeteer accused of relationship with teen

The website Gothamist reports that it received the following statement from the accuser's lawyers, Andreozzi & Associates:

"This office represented a 23-year-old man who was the subject of many media reports regarding Kevin Clash. He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter."

In response to the statement Tuesday afternoon, Clash issued a statement of his own, saying he is "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest."

In a statement issued Monday, Sesame Workshop said its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised "poor judgment" and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no details.

At his request, Clash was granted a leave of absence in order to "protect his reputation," Sesame Workshop says. No duration for the leave was specified.

Clash joined the show's cast in 1985, according to CBS Baltimore. His work as Elmo earned him an Emmy in 1990.

More on Crimesider
Nov. 12, 2012 -Kevin Clash, Elmo puppeteer, accused of inappropriate relationship with 16-year-old boy



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