The Man Behind Elmo Resigns Amidst Sex Abuse Scandal

Category: Society / Nov 20, 2012 3:38PM EDT
The voice of one of Sesame Street's most famous characters has resigned. Kevin Clash, 52, the puppeteer for Elmo, had been on a leave of absence after a 23-year-old man accused Clash of engaging in a sexual relationship with him when he was 16-years old. In a statement Sesame Workshop said claims against Clash had become a distraction and that it was a sad for the company. New York-based Sesame Workshop had concluded through their own inquiry that the claims of underage sexual conduct against Clash were unsubstantiated. Clash, 52, the voice of Elmo for nearly three decades, had acknowledged a past relationship with his accuser but said the pair were both consenting adults at the time. As Clash steps down, another young man has came forward with accusations of statutory rape via a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in New York. The Elmo character debuted on "Sesame Street" in 1979. While Clash was the third performer to animate the child-like shaggy red monster, Sesame Workshop credits him with turning Elmo into the international sensation he became.