Kevin Clash, Elmo Puppeteer, Resigns from ‘Sesame Street’ After New Sexual Abuse Claim

| by Michael Allen

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who voiced the character Elmo, resigned from Sesame Street on Tuesday because his "personal life has become a distraction," according to the Sesame Workshop which produces the long-running children's series on PBS.

In a statement, the Sesame Workshop said: “None of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”

Earlier this year, Clash was accused of starting a sexual relationship in 2005 with a 16-year-old boy, an accusation that was later recanted. TheSmokingGun.com identified Clash’s first accuser as 23-year-old Sheldon Stephens, who attracted “high-powered men” and was once arrested for stealing $250,000 in jewelry from an employer.

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However, on Tuesday morning, TMZ.com reported that a second accuser, Cecil Singleton, also sued Clash for engaging in an underage relationship with him after the two met on a gay phone-sex line.