Seven years ago, the man behind beloved Sesame Street character Elmo had an inappropriate relationship with a sixteen-year-old boy, at least according to the now 23-year-old man making the accusations. Kevin Clash, Elmo puppeteer, has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street to deal with the fallout of what he considers to be meritless sex offense allegations.
Clash does admit that he had a relationship with his accuser, but nothing that was illegal. He insists that the two were involved in a consenting adult relationship that did not begin until after his accuser reached the age of majority.
The Sesame Street Workshop conducted an investigation into the allegations of indecent liberties with a minor after the 23-year-old unnamed accuser came forward. It found that the allegations of a criminal act between Clash and the man did not happen; in other words, Clash did not have an inappropriate relationship with the man while he was still a teenager.
Clash has been disciplined by the Workshop, however. During the course of the investigation into the accused sex offenses, the Workshop discovered that the voice of Elmo had violated its policy on internet use and had “exercised poor judgment.”
As with many individuals who suddenly and shockingly face allegations of wrongful sexual conduct, Clash has been left to defend himself despite the results of the investigation. Many are too quick to convict those accused of sex offenses on the allegations alone, rather than on the results of a formal, or criminal, inquiry.
Source: Seattle PI, “Kevin Clash, Voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, On Leave of Absence Amid Underage Sex Allegations,” November 12, 2012