The guy who has played Elmo since 1985 has taken a leave of absence after accusations of him having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old boy were revealed. The actors name is Kevin Clash and he admits to having sex with the accuser but only after he turned 18. The un-named accuser is now 23. He says that the Penn State scandal awoke him to the fact that he had been victimized as a 16 year old. He hadn't felt that way at the time, but looking back Mr Clash was preying on a boy who had dreams of becoming a puppeteer. Psychologists say it's very common for young people to have mixed feelings about their rapists and then when they come of age and realize what happened, they feel it's too late to say anything.
The accuser met several times with Sesame Street bosses and their lawyers. When he felt like they were trying to muzzle him rather than address the issue of Mr Clash's perversion he contacted a law firm that represented some of the Penn State victims. They contacted Sesame Street on August 15th. Sesame Street and their team have taken a stonewall approach. Until the accuser can provide proof that he was under 18 when he had sex with Clash, there's nothing for us to do. I'm not sure what kind of proof he could provide. Short of a hot tub time machine where he and the boy are together in the hot tub, it's basically a he said/Elmo said deal. But Clash did know the kid at a time when they were 45 and 16 respectively. The fact that he took cold showers for 2 years shouldn't really be looked upon as a good thing by Sesame Street. Why are they fighting so hard to protect this guy? Would it be so bad to announce back in August that the puppeteer for Elmo has been accused of having sex with a minor. We have suspended him with pay while the authorities run their investigation. That shows you're taking it seriously. And it's not some out of left field accusation. You have sexually explicit e-mails from Clash to the accuser from around the time he was 18 so it's not crazy to believe he could have started this 2 years earlier. It can't be that hard to find another person to voice Elmo. And in their contract put in the clause that if you ever have sex with anyone you met because they are a fan of Elmo's you are castrated...and then fired. UPDATE The accuser has recanted his claims that he was 16 when the sex began. UPDATE: The accuser has now recanted his recant. TMZ says his lawyers pressured him to take a 6 figure deal from Clash in exchange for recanting. But now he wants to give the money back and take it to trial. Here is the 1st photo we've seen of the accuser. His name is Sheldon Stephens and he appears to have lockjaw.