Kevin Clash, the former puppeteer of Elmo on “Sesame Street,” faces new charges of sexual abuse, this time from a Florida man who claims Clash met him in New York almost 12 years ago after prowling gay telephone chat lines in search of sex with underage boys.
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 27 in U.S District Court in Manhattan by the now 29-year-old man, who wishes to remain anonymous. The suit claims that he and Clash engaged in sexual encounters, including oral sex, after speaking with each other on a chat line. While in search of modeling opportunities, the accuser, who was 16 at the time of the incident, said Clash posed as a 30-year-old man named Craig on the telephone chat line, according to The Boston Herald.
“Mr. Clash believes the lawsuit has no merit,” Risa B. Heller, Clash’s publicist, told The Chicago Tribune.
The new lawsuit comes after two men have already accused Clash of sexual abuse and molestation.
Clash denied the first claim, which was retracted the next day when the man said sex was consensual. But after Cecil Singleton, a 24-year-old college student sued for $5 million in damages, alleging Clash engaged in sexual behavior with him at age 15, Clash resigned from “Sesame Street” after 28 years.
Michael Berger, Clash’s lawyer, told The Associated Press in a statement that the suits filed against Clash are without merit.
“The cases and Mr. Clash’s reputation will be defended vigorously,” he said.
The “Elmo” puppet made its first appearance on “Sesame Street” in 1979. Clash has been attributed with making Elmo an international success.
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