published Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Elmo actor Kevin Clash resigns amid sex allegation

In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with the "Sesame Street" muppet in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Sesame Workshop says Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from "Sesame Street" in the wake of allegations that he had sex with an under-aged youth. Last week a man accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy, a charge Clash denied. A day later, the man recanted his charge. A lawsuit by a second accuser was filed Tuesday, Nov. 20, according to attorney Cecil Singleton. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, File)
In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with the "Sesame Street" muppet in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Sesame Workshop says Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from "Sesame Street" in the wake of allegations that he had sex with an under-aged youth. Last week a man accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy, a charge Clash denied. A day later, the man recanted his charge. A lawsuit by a second accuser was filed Tuesday, Nov. 20, according to attorney Cecil Singleton. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, File)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

FRAZIER MOORE

NEW YORK — Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from “Sesame Street” in the wake of an allegation that he had sex with an under-aged youth.

In its statement today, Sesame Workshop said “the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want,” leading Clash to conclude “that he can no longer be effective in his job.”

“This is a sad day for Sesame Street,” the statement said.

As the announcement was made, a lawsuit was being filed in federal court in New York charging Clash with sexual abuse of a second youth. The lawsuit alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters.

Clash, who had been on “Sesame Street” for 28 years, created the high-pitched voice and child-like persona for Elmo, a furry, red Muppet that became one of the most popular characters on the show and one of the company’s most lucrative properties.

Clash’s exit from Sesame Workshop followed a tumultuous week that began on Nov. 12 with a statement from the company that Clash had requested a leave of absence following the charge by a man in his early 20s that he had had a relationship with Clash when he was 16.

Clash denied the charge from that man, who has not been publicly identified, calling it “false and defamatory.” Days later the man recanted his charge.

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