Kevin Clash with Elmo

The man who accused the puppeteer behind the Sesame Street character Elmo of abusing him as a minor has retracted his claims.

Kevin Clash (52), the voice and puppeteer of Elmo since 1984, was accused by an un-named 23-year-old man of molesting him when he was 16, reported the New York Times on Monday.

Clash, who took a leave of absence from production company Sesame Workshop to deal with the issue, denied the claims and insisted that the relationship “was between two consenting adults,” adding, “I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not”.

He went on to say: “I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”

On Tuesday, however the accuser’s lawyer announced in a statement that his client “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr Clash was an adult consensual relationship”.

Clash, responded by saying “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further”.

Sesame Workshop also commented that, “We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode”.

It is remains unclear if and when Clash, who has won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy, will be back at work.

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