Appeals court upholds dismissal of sex abuse claims against Elmo puppeteer

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has upheld a 2013 district court ruling, clearing former Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash in three lawsuits brought by men who said he sexually abused them when they were underage.

Kevin Clash
Kevin Clash

Without ruling on the merits of the allegations, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the charges against Clash, 53, saying the claims were made outside New York’s statute of limitations.

Clash was charged with sexual abuse by three men who said he molested them when they were minors, more than 10 years ago. But New York law states that a lawsuit must be filed within six years of the alleged event, or three years after a plaintiff turns 21.

The court dismissed the cases of three alleged victims — Cecil Singleton, Kevin Kiadii and a man identified only by initials “S.M.” — who all claim they were sexually abused by Clash when they were teenagers.

The appeals court said the alleged victims “failed to provide any reason why (they) were unable to discover their injuries prior to 2012,” and their arguments were “without” merit, according to court documents.

Jeffrey Herman, attorney for the men, is also representing Michael Egan, the actor suing “X-Men” director Bryan Singer for allegedly sexually abusing him when he was 15 at “notorious parties” in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

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Herman notes that a fourth case against Clash on behalf of plaintiff Sheldon Stephens remains pending.

Stephens is Clash’s first accuser, who continues to pursue legal action in Pennsylvania. Stephens, 25, claimed Clash sexually abused him at age 16, but recanted soon after coming forward, later admitting the relationship was consensual.

Clash resigned from “Sesame Street” in November 2012, following the second allegation of sexual abuse, which was made by Singleton.

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