Accuser retracts claim he had underage sex with Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash

The man who accused “Sesame Street” puppeteer Kevin Clash of having a sexual encounter with him when he was 16, has retracted his statements.

The accuser, now 24 years old, contacted Sesame Workshop last summer and claimed that, beginning at the age of 16, he had a sexual relationship with Clash.

Kevin Clash
Clash — the openly gay actor who voices the Muppet character Elmo — had taken a leave of absence recently to fight the accusations, according to the Sesame Workshop, which announced Monday that their internal investigation “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.”

Today, Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented Clash’s accuser, said in a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”

The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”

The accuser’s identity has not been disclosed.

“I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest,” Clash said Tuesday, via a spokesman. “I will not discuss it further.”

Sesame Workshop had no immediate comment on when Clash would return to work, but in a statement posted on its website, said, “We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.”

Clash has acknowledged the relationship, but insisted that the accuser was legally an adult at the time.

Update, 11/14/2012: The Smoking Gun has identified Clash’s accuser as 24-year-old model and actor Sheldon Stephens.

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