puppeteer Kevin Clash & accuser Sheldon Stephens
The man behind Sesame Street’s Elmo has resigned amid new claims of sexual abuse and his first accuser insisting his original statement was true.
Kevin Clash (52), the voice and puppeteer of the much-loved character since 1984, was accused by 24-year-old model/actor Sheldon Stephens of molesting him when he was 16.
Stephens later recanted the accusation but is now said to be claiming that he was pressured into signing a settlement and insists that his original accusations were in fact true.
According to TMZ, the settlement would see Clash pay Stephens $125,000 in return for Stephens announcing that their affair was “an adult consensual relationship”.
TMZ claims that Stephens now wants to undo the settlement and is willing to forfeit the $125,000 in order to tell the truth about him being underage during the relationship.
To make matter worse for Clash, another man in his twenties, identified as Cecil Singleton, has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Clash, claiming that he too was underage when he had sex with the puppeteer at the age of 15.
On Tuesday, Clash announced that he was resigning from Sesame Street.
“Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately,” he said.