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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
91.

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....

619 days ago
92.

kitnplayn    

It sounds like a shakedown for money, because the victim did not go to the police or a lawyer, he went to the company. A man of 23 would have enough life experience to know that.

619 days ago
93.

CriticXtreme    

You had a gold mine with this Elmo ish. Now you've not only messed it up for kids but the black race. Now like Ernie and Bert, Elmo is officially a ***...he..he..

619 days ago
94.

Jason     

I think the average man finds hanging around and working with kids annoying and unpleasant. When ever i hear about a gown man that likes to be around kids it makes me wonder why? I know that's a sad statement, but it's true.

619 days ago
95.

Amkere    

So, who is next? Mr.Rogers? Walt Disney? Is there any wonder kids in this country do not trust grown ups settling scores like this?

619 days ago
96.

Marisol    

Dayuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, Elmo's gay?

619 days ago
97.

Carl    

I don't believe it. I think the accuser is pissed off at him and is claiming the underage thing to get back at him. Given how seriously people take child abuse (just being accused can ruin a person's reputation even if untrue), I think people that make false allegations should get harsh punishment.

619 days ago
98.

joanna    

omg,noooooooooooooooooooo not elmo!!! if we dont have the innocence of elmo what the hell do we got?

619 days ago
99.

Tesla_Consulting    

I bet you like the Popo now.

619 days ago
100.

DJ    

It's this guy friends with HARVEY & CHARLES ( GAY GUYS)?

619 days ago
101.

2drk2fck    

Sounds like a lovers quarrell too bad some people cant just bow out and not try to ruin the other lives completely. Then again maybe elmo is HIV positive and mini elmo is pissed. Who knows!

619 days ago
102.

RandyP    

Call me an old fogey, and I guess I am, but any near 50 year old man having sex with a teenager (of either gender) is not someone with whom I would care to associate. It's just kinda creepy.

619 days ago
103.

Guillermo     

All these sexual deviants are hiding in plain sight, and we can't see them!!

619 days ago
104.

Adam    

GREAT, now that Michael Jackson is dead people have to start blaming another black guy for molesting underage kids.

What a sick world.

619 days ago
105.

vtajen    

So the guy is 23 now, claims this started when he was 16; 7 years ago. Now, he decides to contact Sesame Workshop about his past personal sex life-a relationship that was "UNRELATED TO THE WORKPLACE?" Yeah...I TOTALLY believe this guy. POS

619 days ago
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