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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
76.

Jo    

I hate the media for writing stories that ruin careers. Before writing such garbage, confront the person you are writing about to get their side not just print things and destroy the career of someone who has not hurt anyone and had what appeared to be consentual relations. Sounds like someone is trying to blackmail somebody.

676 days ago
77.

adelle    

I watched a doc on my netflix about kevin clash once and he seemed like a very wholesome nice guy...


whenever people who are involved in child-oriented programming get accused of being involved in scandals, especially sex scandals, their image becomes ruined...whether or not he really did anything it will not matter...damage is done, and he will never be able to live this down...he is pretty much done imo..

676 days ago
78.

NOT ELMO    

this man should date tyler perry, i approve!...

676 days ago
79.

Mayu    

No wonder Mitt Romney hates big bird

676 days ago
80.

JOSH    

This situation is pretty horrible and so are many of those making vile comments! This to me sounds like just another Gay Blade trying to cash in on some benefits from a high profile celebrity.....

676 days ago
81.

Don Martin    

Hmmmmmm! So, I wonder what Romney had on Big Bird!

676 days ago
82.

bigcasino    

hey little boy, come here and tickle my elmo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

676 days ago
83.

fishtofry    

Would there be so much outrage if this was a 23 year old woman?

676 days ago
84.

SSinOC    

Just as holiday sales begin to ramp up, Elmo sales crash. Elmo will need suffer a quick demise.

676 days ago
85.

Ummmm    

This breaks my heart... I know it has nothing to do with "ELMO" but every time I see him on Sesame St now I am going to think of this in the back of my mind. It is his personal life but someone who plays one of the most loved characters of all time should be more careful millions of kids look up to Elmo. This is all over the news already and they are going to see it. I also feel bad for his daughter and family.

676 days ago
86.

WackJob    

7 years ago, bitter queen must need money.

676 days ago
87.

psycho nurse    

Thank goodness Sesame Street opted not to air that clip of Katy Perry singing and dancing with Elmo in that low cut dress. That would be entirely to scandalous...

676 days ago
88.

lalet    

I hope he gets fired! I CANT STAND ELMO!!!!

676 days ago
89.

Bill    

I guess this is the appitizer. Wait until we hear what Big Bird has been doing with his pecker.

676 days ago
90.

TMP    

Too bad so many have already voiced that they think he's guilty. In today society the media convicts people, not the courts. Even if he went through everything and cleared his name, was proven NOT guilty, there will be parents demanding he be fired from SS and there will be those that continually say he's guilty and this will follow him around for the rest of this life. I think this might just be a spurned partner trying to get revenge and seeing an easy target and dollar signs....

676 days ago
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