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Voice of Elmo

Denies Sex w/ Underage Boy

Takes Leave of Absence from Sesame Street

11/12/2012 10:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Elmo Voice Actor Kevin ClashKevin Clash -- the man known as the voice of Elmo -- has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street in the wake of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, TMZ has learned ... allegations Clash adamantly denies.

We've learned ... Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with a 23-year-old man who claims he and Clash began a sexual relationship 7 years ago ... when he was 16 and Clash was 45.

Clash has acknowledged to TMZ he had a relationship with the young man -- but insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ ... "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."

Sesame Workshop officials acknowledge to TMZ they met with the accuser twice and had a number of other communications with him.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell TMZ ... after the accuser's initial meeting with Sesame Street, the accuser felt Sesame Workshop's lawyers were trying to muzzle him ... so he lawyered up with Andreozzi and Associates -- the firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.

On August 15, 2012 ... Andreozzi fired off a letter to Sesame, accusing the company of trying to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters," adding, "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."

Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ ... they conducted a thorough investigation and determined the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated. They say they never tried to silence the accuser -- rather they asked for evidence supporting his claim, but he never produced it.

Officials also tell us they're suspicious because the accuser has an email which TMZ obtained -- purportedly sent to him by Clash, acknowledging they had the affair when he was 16. The officials say the accuser never mentioned such an email existed and they believe it's fraudulent.

But there were other emails between Clash and the accuser, and although they don't suggest there was underage sex, officials tell us they disciplined him for inappropriate use of company email.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ ... "Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so."

It is unclear why Clash wanted a leave of absence, since he denies the allegations of underage sex.

As for Clash, the voice actor tells TMZ, "I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."  Clash calls the accusations false and defamatory.

Finally Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ the puppet is alive and well: "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world."

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328 COMMENTS

No Avatar
136.

exoticdoc2    

So many homosexual predators out there these days. They're even organized (NAMBLA).

710 days ago
137.

Googie    

Betty White, be careful who you kiss. You don't know where that mouth has been.

710 days ago
138.

Shay    

I will wait for all the evidence before I judge this guy. However, I know the law says you are an adult at 18 but I have a son who is a high school senior and he nor his friends are adults. They are responsible young men but they are still teenagers. I could not imagine a 47 year old having a relationship with any of them. I believe older guys troll on the young because they can manipulate and control them. For this reason I have lost a lot of respect for him.

710 days ago
139.

mebrat24    

if the kid is 23 why is it his name posted?

710 days ago
140.

Sashatree    

This is complete GARBAGE!! I've known Kevin for 20 years! He's sure as he11 not a pedophile. He "knew" his accuser when he was 16, but sure as heck it wasn't romantic, let alone physical/sexual!! They didn't date until the accuser was 20 or 21, and even then, it was only for a few months before Kevin broke it up. This POS is looking for a PAY DAY at Kevin's expense!! I AM SOO PEEVED ABOUT THIS INJUSTICE TO KEVIN!!!!

710 days ago
141.

JFO    

Oh, Elmo ... say it ain't so ....

710 days ago
142.

ronardo    

told yaa dont be Tickleing Elmo, He might tickle back Lol

710 days ago
143.

Kristin    

Not the mama!

710 days ago
144.

spectator72    

This is why Romney didn't want to fund PBS

710 days ago
145.

tomh1803    

Very sad and very sick

710 days ago
146.

John    

The story seems to imply that Mr. Clash and this young man have been engaged in an ongoing relationship. Mr. Clash admits to the relationship, though he and the young man differ on when it began, and no mention is made as to when it ended, if it did. Rather than provide evidence of his claim, the young man chose to lawyer up with a high priced, high profile attorney. It appears that the possibility of this young mans claims being rooted in revenge over something amiss in the relationship, are somewhat equal to that of being rooting in fact. It'll be interesting when all the facts come out, and both sides are obviously innocent until proven otherwise.

710 days ago
147.

_][ Character_Assassin ][_    

People with alternative lifestyles should not be allowed to work where kids are found to be abundant. Period.

710 days ago
148.

Jen    

When they say "we did have a relationship but it didn't start until after he/she was legal", that's when you know they're lying.

710 days ago
149.

AcidGrin    

Did they really need to bold up "Jerry Sandusky"? It draws unnecessary attention to make it seem so dramatic, but in this case, it means absolutely nothing.

710 days ago
150.

mddiva35    

CNN recieved a statement from him saying he is a gay man. When do gay men who aren't hiding it marry women? This dude is a con artist.

710 days ago
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