Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street character Elmo, resigned last week after two men claimed he'd sexually assaulted them when they were underaged. Clash denied that he'd abused the men, but said the "personal matters" were distracting him from his work.
Now a Florida man has added to the accusations against the Muppeteer. The unnamed man claims in a new lawsuit that when he was 16 years old, Clash invited him to his apartment, got him drunk and then engaged in oral sex.
The lawsuit, filed in New York's federal court, adds to the chorus claiming that the voice actor behind the fuzzy red monster was a monstrous character off screen.
Clash, who spent 28 years working on Sesame Street, was first accused earlier this month by Sheldon Stevens, a 23-year-old aspiring model. Stevens changed his story, later saying he'd had a consensual relationship with Clash when he was older than 18, but then recanted and said Clash had paid him to change his story.
Stevens tale was later echoed by a second accuser, Cecil Singleton. Now, the unnamed Florida accuser sounds a familiar tale.
The Florida man, who goes by "John" in his suit, says he traveled to New York as a 16-year-old high schooler around 2000 to try to break into the modeling industry. He met Clash on a gay online chat forum, he says, and agreed to meet him after insisting his interests were "non-sexual."
Clash agreed, he says, but when he met the actor at his Manhattan apartment, he gave "John" alcohol and later convinced him to have oral sex. In the apartment, "John" noticed numerous Elmo dolls and photos of Elmo with famous people, he says.
The Florida accuser says their relationship continued after he graduated from high school and moved to New York.
Clash's attorneys have yet to respond to the suit, which was filed yesterday. But when he resigned from Sesame Street, he denied any sexual abuse claims, saying: "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."
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