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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
46.

SeannyMB    

The word "underage" in the headline should be in italics

610 days ago
47.

hummm    

the monster behind the puppet monster.... creepy

610 days ago
48.

Gretel    

I can't find the name for someone who has sex with puppets, although I'm sure it's out there. Elmo is in his 30s, so I guess the hand up the puppet butt thing is okay, but why do I keep thinking about Neverland and this guy?

610 days ago
49.

Eric    

Elmo sad. Elmo agree, though, Elmo voice bigger than any one person. Elmo predict that someone else will do Elmo's voice. Elmo.

610 days ago
50.

elle    

Why didn't Sesame Street go directly to the police? Regardless of whether this is a money grab effort on the part of the accuser, Sesame Street could have done their own internal investigation, AND immediately turned over whatever was received from the accuser to the police for a criminal investigationl Sesame Street handled the accusations the same way Penn State officials did with Sandusky. Why?

610 days ago
51.

john    

So sick of hearing 16 year old boys complaining about this sh*t. 16 year old boys know EXACTLY what they are doing, and EXACTLY how to stop whatever they doing. Boo Hoo, I want money....F.U.

610 days ago
52.

Jen    

The article fails to mention he's married (to a woman) and has a college-age daughter. This makes it even more seedy.

610 days ago
53.

Shonda Patterson    

This episode was brought to you by the letters D and L!

610 days ago
54.

Shonda Patterson    

Sesame Street was brought to you in part by the letters D and L.

609 days ago
55.

Justin    

"Elmo is bigger than all of us."

That's TMI.

609 days ago
56.

Justin    

"That tickles" has a whole new meaning when locked up in prison.

609 days ago
57.

Cujeaux    

Why is this story in a bold red frame? It's not exactly earth ****tering.

609 days ago
58.

Zandooo    

Oh wow man thats like so totally gay. Ewwww.

www.Anon-Gotz.tk

609 days ago
59.

Mike    

he was sixteen and he carried on this relationship until he was 23.. then decided..maybe money would be more satisfying.....how similiar to so many other cases

609 days ago
60.

ricki goodfellah    

I always thought Elmo was just a little light in the loafers

609 days ago
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