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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
166.

atomic    

Elmo horrrrny. La La....La La

620 days ago
167.

Mark    

Just imagine if he were caught with Gen.Patreas!

620 days ago
168.

BB not bb    

So Elmo is really El Mo?

620 days ago
169.

baybek8s    

This sounds like a scorned lover trying to extort money from a successful ex. I don't believe this for one second!

620 days ago
170.

Ronni    

Hmmm, another pedophile working on a kiddie tv show. Where have I heard that one before?

620 days ago
171.

chuck    

NO more Elmo on the show............

620 days ago
172.

Y'all need Jesus    

I think some of you need to look up the definition of 'pedophile'. Most pedophiles are attracted to pre pubescent children, not teenagers. That being said I do not condone a 45 year old having sex with a 16 year old, however calling Clash a pedophile only showcases your own ignorance. I remember being 16. At that age I knew more about sex than my parents!

Oh and you have to LOVE all of this 'all gay people are pedophiles' talk going on. Because there had never been cases of straight, adult men and women having sex with young people. Never.

And of course It's all Obama's fault. If only Romney were elected. Then all gay people would turn straight, criminals would repent, everyone would convert to Catholicism, there would be a renaissance of the human spirit, and the Eagles would make a comeback.

620 days ago
173.

adelle    

I hate to say it but he's pretty much DONE
Children's programming and sex scandals do not mix.

The fact that he is even associated with a sex scandal will be the nail in his coffin, no matter whether or not this is true. Sad but true, his career is over, he won't be able to live this down. Too many people will see his affiliation with children's programming and his ties to gay sex scandals as just too creepy of a mix. This is a definite career killer, even if its proven to be false.

620 days ago
174.

Phil    

P is for Pedophilia.

620 days ago
175.

lalet    

I cant STAND Elmo anyway!. He has ruined what was once a highly entertaining, educational show. I hope he gets booted from the show!

620 days ago
176.

john    

i guess the boys scouts of america arn't that far off base afterall.

620 days ago
177.

ANTHONY    

Aw - C'mon - is this waht Obamanation has come to, when one can't even TRUST little 'ole harmless ELMO any more ???

620 days ago
178.

ANTHONY    

ELMO ? Is that you ? Is this what this president has done to you, too ?

620 days ago
179.

John Lutz    

Wowwwwww.......

620 days ago
180.

superbombastik    

Well now, this sounds like it should bring down Sesame Street just like it did Penn State and the Scouts. Seems Mitt Romney was a little more correct than you all thought.

620 days ago
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