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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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330 COMMENTS

No Avatar
151.

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.

608 days ago
152.

winkenstein    

Elmo and Blowbama like wee wees!

607 days ago
153.

Paula    

What is wrong with peOPLE? I thought he wsas married and had a child, not that it would stop anyone? Jiminey Cricket!

607 days ago
154.

NM156    

Priests having gay sex with underage boys bad; liberals working for a liberal icon like PBS having gay sex with underage boys good.

607 days ago
155.

Luther Shields    

uh oh he is as gay as big bird

607 days ago
156.

NOT ELMO    

tyler perry loves you....

607 days ago
157.

Derek    

16 is legal in many states. Hardly pedophilia. I had sex when I was 16 with someone older. Im fine

607 days ago
158.

basketpam    

Is NOTHING sacred in this world any longer? Is there ANYTHING left that that the world will allow to be innocent, pure and decent? I am SO disappointed in Clash there aren't words left to describe those feelings. PBS just ran a wonderful special on him and his evolution from high school entertainer to the world voice of Elmo. He KNEW long ago his position in the world of Sesame Street and how any wrong steps would taint this image. I don't care what he does in his private life, but it sounds as if he walked too close to the boundary line of right and wrong. He was playing with fire from the start. And the worst of it, despite ALL attempts adults will make to keep little ones from hearing anything, they surely will. Before we know it they will be asking question VERY inappropriate for that age group to have ANY knowledge about. I feel SO sorry for children today. They're not allowed to have a childhood. The world was a MUCH nicer and gentler place for children without constant media swarming around them 24/7. There isn't ANY object, equipment, or even food a child touches where some sort of advertisment isn't place. At almost every business in America today you can't even get the phone answered without an ad being spouted at you before you can speak to someone. Shame on you Kevin Clash, you ARE being held to a higher standard because of your position and how many lives you actions can harm. I would have thought you would have known this. Just picture this same article about Walt Disney. Think how differently all that would be today.

607 days ago
159.

The Deacon    

Elmo, Funny.

607 days ago
160.

Kowny Krush    

Tickle me, Elmo.

607 days ago
161.

WK    

I am really hurt and disappointed by this one. Hope it is not true! Clash recently became a big deal in the African American community but if the accusations are true, he will not be considered a success in our community.

607 days ago
162.

Alanna    

An adult can't have "sex" with a minor; that's called rape.

607 days ago
163.

natalie    

Im sure a man well into his forties who is having a relationship with even an 18-19 year old boy still has the mindset of a pedophile. So I can absolutely believe that Clash went for it when the boy was 16.

607 days ago
164.

knickfan212    

So that's why Elmo' eyes were so wide.

607 days ago
165.

lol    

The age of consent in 30 states is 16 years old or less. In the remaining 20 states, several of them don't consider sex with someone 16 or 17 years old to be rape or a felony, just a misdemeanor.

Depending on the state where this supposedly happened, it wasn't illegal or wasn't serious. 16 year olds, although stupid, are still aware enough to make their own decisions regarding sex.

This guy supposedly carried on a relationship, and likely attempted to blackmail him and Sesame Street. Since they didn't pay up to keep him quiet, he's going to the media with it to try to extract cash from his story. It's obviously a ploy to make quick money.

607 days ago
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