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Sun Apr 20 12:52:34 SAST 2014

Elmo puppeteer resigns from Sesame Street after sex accusation

Times LIVE and E! Online | 21 November, 2012 10:38
Sesame Street character Elmo and Kevin Clash. File photo.
Image by: MOLLY RILEY / REUTERS

Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street in the wake of a second allegation he had sex with an underage boy. He was the puppeteer behind Elmo for 28 years.

Sesame Workshop released the following statement on Tuesday:

"Sesame Workshop's mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street."

E! Online reported on Wednesday that Clash gave a statement to E! News regarding his resignation.

"I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart," he said. "I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."

It was revealed last week that a 23-year-old man had contacted Sesame Workshop in June alleging he and the 52-year-old Clash had a relationship seven years prior. While Clash confirmed to E! News that he did have "a relationshiip with the accuser," he insisted it was not an illegal one.

The 23-year-old man later recanted his allegations and said he and Clash, who has confirmed he is gay, actually had an "adult consensual relationship."

"I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," Clash said in a statement

However, on Monday, E! News confirmed that a second man has filed a $5 million federal lawsuit alleging that Clash engaged in an inappropriate relationship with him when the plaintiff, Cecil Singleton, was only 15 years old.

As for what this all means for Elmo, Sesame Street reps have already made it clear that the furry red Muppet "is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street."

Kevin Clash's newest accuser, Cecil Singleton, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon in which he described in detail the nature of the sexual relationship he had with the puppeteer nine years ago when he was just 15 years old.

"[There was] groping, masturbation, and just a lot of intense kissing, touching, that kind of thing. Dry humping," he said. "But we did not have sex and it's imperative to note that. We did not have…sexual intercourse until years later when I was an adult."

Singleton added that he broke things off after two weeks.

"I just remember telling myself that he seemed to really like me and... let me spare him now because I know that I can't do this," noted the accuser. "If I had to make an educated guess and say if we had stayed together we more than likely would have had sex at that age."

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Sun Apr 20 12:52:34 SAST 2014 ::