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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

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Previous 15 Comments | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
211.

kctiger1818    

This is crap. This was over and done until TMZ decided to report on it. There are reports that even the accuser's attorneys have admitted their client has no proof of any underage relationship. This guy was looking for a pay day and TMZ seems determined to help him get it.

653 days ago
212.

Joann    

You are innocent until proven guilty.I am sure Sesame Street owners investergated it thourghly. If it was true they would have fired Clash on the spot. The person who is accusing him should have gone to the police first, He i looking for his 15mins of fame, If this did happen, at the age of 16 you know right from wrong. You leave the situation. What propably happened was Clash broke off his relationship with this man and now it is get even time, No matter what Kevin Clash's life and reputation are shot. Once you are accused of this, even if proven not true, it stays with you for ever.

653 days ago
213.

dadashar    

Who says this is wrong? When will you petabhobes get over the fact that is accepted by more and more people every day.Get used to it. Keep up with our falling standard or you will be found guilty of hate speach.

653 days ago
214.

bob    

show me your "Big Bird" elmo ok mr. president

653 days ago
215.

jokerdano    

With all the gay rights stuff. It's just a matter of time Until sex with little boys from the age of 1 and up will be legal.

653 days ago
216.

Mike    

No story here, folks. 16 is the age of consent in almost every single state in the U.S.

652 days ago
217.

kathy canyonwalker    

it has been retracted by the accuser, now what will you do?

652 days ago
218.

alan    

Mitt was right .
time to get rid of big bird and the sex offenders .

652 days ago
219.

nope    

Clash is a Sick ***got bitch anda pedophile. 16 and 45? Only pedophiles are okay with this.

648 days ago
220.

kim    

Lol clash just stay home..big bird is next

620 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

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