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Elmo actor resigns after new sex claim

16:00 Wed Nov 21 2012
Erin Tennant

The Elmo voice actor and puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street after a second man came forward with claims of underage sexual activity.

Sesame Workshop, the education nonprofit that runs the children's program, released a statement today saying 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."

Clash, who is openly gay, became embroiled in a sex scandal last week when a 24-year-old former lover claimed he had begun a sexual relationship with the actor when he was 16 and Clash was 45.

Sheldon Stephens' allegations went public last week. He then withdrew his complaint but yesterday said he wanted to undo his recantation.

Today new claims emerged from another man accusing Clash, 52, of underage sexual activity.

Cecile Singleton, now aged in his mid-30s, filed a lawsuit against Clash claiming he was just 15 when he had a brief relationship with Clash.

The lawsuit, filed in a New York court, claims Clash met the man over a gay phone chat line in 1993.

"[Clash] groomed [the accuser] to gain his trust by, among other things, taking him to nice dinners and giving him money," the lawsuit claims.

In a press conference today, Singleton said the pair did not have intercourse but they did engage in "groping, masturbation, intense kissing, dry-humping."

He added that he rekindled a sexual relationship with Clash in adult life.

Singleton is claiming damages of $5 million for "psychological and emotional" suffering.

 
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