Elmo puppeteer cleared of under-age sex allegations

  • A man who accused a Sesame Street puppeteer of having under-age sex with him has retracted his story.

    The anonymous 23-year-old admitted through a lawyer that his relationship with Kevin Clash had been an "adult consensual" one.

    Clash, 52, who has operated Elmo since the 1980s, said he was "relieved" the allegation had been dropped.

    Meanwhile, Sesame Street producers said in a statement it was "pleased that this matter has been brought to a close".

    On Monday, producers said they believed the accuser's claim was "unsubstantiated" and gave Clash leave of absence as he took action to protect his reputation.

    The accuser contacted producers in June, claiming he was in a relationship with Clash that began when he was 16.

    Clash did not the relationship but maintained it happened after the accuser was an adult.

    It is not yet known when he is expected to return to work.

    Clash was the subject of a 2011 documentary titled Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey. He has won several Daytime Emmy awards for his work on Sesame Street.

    In 2006, he penned his autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud.