Kevin Clash facing allegations of ‘sexual activity’ with a 16-yr-old by a third accuser

In the week before Thanksgiving, the stories kept getting more and more uncomfortable with regards to Kevin Clash, arguably the most famous puppeteer in the world. Clash is the voice and puppet master of Elmo, who is arguably (or not so much) the most famous and beloved Sesame Street character. Clash is a rock star to puppeteers and to people in the children’s entertainment industry, always known for his generous spirit and work ethic. Unfortunately, Clash’s decades of good works have now been tainted by an unending wave of sketchy sex scandals. First, a 20-something dude claimed that he and Clash had an affair when the dude was only 16. That dude later recanted, then recanted his recant and admitted that Clash paid him off ($125K). Then a second accuser came forward and Clash formally resigned his post at Sesame Street. And now a third accuser has come forward.

The Emmy award-winning man behind Sesame Street’s “Elmo” is now facing his third allegation of underage sex in two weeks. This time puppeteer Kevin Clash is facing a lawsuit accusing him of sexual activity with a 16-year-old in 2000.

The accuser, now 29, will be filing a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court Tuesday, says the man’s attorney Jeff Herman. He said the lawsuit is being filed as a “John Doe” because the accuser does not want to use his name.

A spokeswoman for the puppeteer said, “Mr. Clash believes this lawsuit has no merit.”

Herman said his client started writing a book in 2009 describing his experience with Clash. The lawyer said he will have pages from that book at a press conference Tuesday to announce the lawsuit.

Herman said the accuser is from the South and was in high school when he came to New York 13 years ago for modeling work. He said his client connected with Clash — who went under the pseudonym “Craig” and claimed to be only 30 years old — on a gay chat line. The two chatted for a couple of days and then Craig invited the 16-year-old to his apartment.

In the apartment, Herman said his client realized Craig was older than 30. They also engaged in “some sexual activity.”

Herman said his client met Clash again in 2003 and 2004, and over a period of time figured out who Clash was.

“He saw Elmo dolls, an Emmy award and photographs of Elmo with movie stars,” said Herman.

Last week, 24-year-old Cecil Singleton of Manhattan — also represented by Herman — filed a $ 5 million lawsuit, accusing Clash of sexual relations when he was 15. The week prior, another young man, Sheldon Stephens, said he had intercourse with Clash when he was only 16 years old.

[From The NYDN]

I was on Clash’s side with the first accuser, and I was just looking for a reason to remain forever Team Clash. But three accusers, all claiming that they were underage when they engage in sexual activity with a then-middle-aged Clash? Yeah. That’s a pattern. I think it’s a more specific pattern than just “Clash likes teenage boys” too. I think Clash specifically likes sketchy teenage hustler types, young men who could conceivably be dismissed and disbelieved.

I do have significant questions about the legal and criminal issues involved with all of this, though. Like, why are all of these men only seeking financial settlements through civil cases? Why aren’t the police involved? Is it not a criminal matter because of a statute of limitations issue, or did these men never approach the police with their stories? I have other questions too, but I really don’t want to delve too deeply into these murky waters. Suffice to say, I think Clash probably was fooling around with jailbait, and he should be ashamed of himself and penalized, but that doesn’t make his accusers completely innocent victims either.

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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35 Responses to “Kevin Clash facing allegations of ‘sexual activity’ with a 16-yr-old by a third accuser”

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  1. Steph says:

    But why now? Why not sooner? I don’t get it, it reminds me of Tiger Woods with the mistresses coming out at once

  2. Mia 4S says:

    I’m a bit sketchy on NY law but I believe there is no criminal case due to the statute of limitations. Well, at least for the first two cases, this one I guess we will see.

    Yeah, three accusers of a similar “type” and story is pretty damning. Very sad.

  3. DeltaJuliet says:

    I’m SO TIRED of sex scandals. Can’t anyone keep it in their pants?

    Maybe it’s this scandal in particular that has me so bothered. Just, ugh…..

  4. Sam says:

    It sounds like the statute of limitations has run. I’m not totally up on NY state law, but in a lot of states, the statute runs from the victim’s 18th birthday for 5 years. So, basically, until the victim’s 23rd birthday. If this accuser came to NY 13 years ago, it sounds like he’s def over 23 – so the statute has run. That is probably why they are pursuing the civil system.

    It’s not especially rare to hear about multiple victims coming out one after the other – it happens. The problem here, I think, is that neither Clash or the victims can really prove anything. There is no evidence of innocence or guilt either way, really. So there will never be a decent resolution here, in my mind.

  5. littlestar says:

    You really have to wonder, do people like Clash ever ask themselves “is what I am doing wrong?” I’m sure he had to realize that having sex with teenage boys when he was much older, is very inappropriate, if not downright wrong, right? It seems like a lot of these young men were troubled teens as well, which makes it all the more easier for Clash to abuse them. Did he honestly think this would never come out? That he would be able to hide the fact that he had inappropriate relationships with several teenagers? With the first accuser, I gave Clash the benefit of doubt. But with 3 coming forward now, it’s just very very shady.

    • mytbean says:

      No. In many cases they do not ponder whether what they are doing is wrong (at least not once they’ve reached the age Clash was) – Most of them believe that society has repressive social rules and that the laws are designed to stifle what they consider natural and unharmful behavior. They genuinely believe (even if they are totally in denial) that the young person is capable of making wise sexual choices. They choose to disregard the reality that engaging in these kinds of acts with someone who has no power or hindsight can and will most likely harm them psychologically.

      The only thing they try to do is not get caught because they know society will penalize them.

  6. Agnes says:


    And I would venture to guess that the statute of limitations is the issue as far as criminal charges go.

  7. Erinn says:

    Okay. I’m Canadian, and a little confused on the laws here. I notice people keep mentioning the statute of limitations and Kevin being protected against that.

    But at the same time, there’s been scandals of priests sexually abusing minors dating back to the 70′s and these people have just brought up court cases in the last decade. How can they get settlements for that, but the people in this case might not because of the limitations? Is it simply a case of Canadian law vs. American law?

    Edited to add:

    “On August 7, 2009, bishop Raymond Lahey announced that the diocese of Antigonish had reached a $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by victims of sexual abuse by diocese priests dating to 1950. “

  8. aims says:

    I also wanted to be forever Team Cash. I watched his documentary, and really fell in love with the guy. I also thought he was getting a shake down. Now, I feel like the guy has sone real problems. Its not funny, this is the third of god only knows young men who are saying they’ve messed around with a grown ass man. And why arent the police involved? Its a crime to mess around with underage people. Kevin’s sexuality is non issue here. The issue is, it is wrong for a middle age person to have any sort relationship with a minor.

  9. kay says:

    Your last paragraph summed up what I think about this case as well, and with that I am not posting any more about this subject.
    it’s a mess, plain and simple.

  10. Birdix says:

    A friend worked with him as a puppeteer on SS, and did not admire him or think of him as a rock star. The negativity my friend and his friends had in discussing Clash seemed startling at the time (had nothing to do with his race or sexual preference) but now makes more sense. He was not as admired/beloved by his fellow puppeteers as is portrayed above, at least in private.

  11. KellyinSeattle says:

    Often after one person comes forward, others sometimes feel validation *don’t know if that is the right word* and come forward, too; there is safety in numbers.

  12. Stacia says:

    ‘…but that doesn’t make his accusers completely innocent victims either.’

    I beg to differ…this was a GROWN ASS MAN fooling with kids…these people were manipulated by someone that knew how to entice kids. In his line of work he knew how to gain the trust of children and how to relate to them on their level. He’s a PERV and PEDOPHILE in my book.

  13. MJ says:

    Whoa, victim-blame much? This post and some of the comments are really troubling. If the accusers were young women, do you think you would get off saying they weren’t “completely innocent victims either”?

    • Cat says:

      Honestly, if it were young girls in the same situation that had met Clash on a hookup chat line, I think there’d be a lot of “little whore” and “she knew what she was doing” comments.

      These young men all met Clash in a specific enviroment. It’s not like he went looking to molest a child at Disneyland. This third accuser says that Clash claimed he was 30 years old before he went to his apartment. What did this guy think was going to happen? Of course he went for sex.

      I believe Kevin Clash made awful choices that could have resulted in charges of sex with a minor if any of the accusers had gone to the police and filed a complaint. But they didn’t because I think they all had sex willingly with the man, which is why they are not “completely innocent victims”.

    • gg says:

      He’s a predator and they’re obviously hustlers looking for money, and they met in a place where predators frequently hook up with hustlers. Hooking up with a high profile older guy like this is guaranteed a payout, usually with blackmail involved. All of them are in need of therapy. The hustlers probably grew up in an abusive situation. Sad all around. The blame for sexual predatory behavior with minors lies on Clash though. The crime of hustling is also a crime. None are blameless.

  14. Miffy says:

    With a toddler, Elmo is a part of my daily life (whether I enjoy it or not). I reeeally want to be Team Clash, and I reeeally want to believe that these sketchy little himbos are lying and out for their fifteen minutes and a cheque, but it’s just too damning.
    Oh Kevin Clash, you idiot, how could you throw everything away for the sake of your inappropriate libido?

  15. Egg dart says:

    There is a lower burden of proof in civil court: preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not convinced that all of his alleged victims are telling the truth.

  16. Nicole says:

    The police is not involved because the statute of limitations is up. The only way to go after him is financially. However, I give some culpability to the accusers. They were in a gay chat line. Those sites let you know what theyre about (I’ve seen them). They are pretty up front that it’s about sex. Now for some reason they are coming forward. Color me jaded, but I think this is about money.

  17. Apples says:

    I would have thought that the fact that the victims equally pursued Kevin Clash via the sex line would give him some defense? Or is that why he isn’t already charged and being held. I thought 16 was a legal age in some states?

  18. truetalk says:

    Don’t you need to be 18 to get on a gay chat line?. I ask because the victims may have lied about their age and he chose “boys for money” because he thought it will be hassle free.

  19. hikkilove says:

    i feel like if he had molested 15-16 year old aspiring female models, this would be a whole different article and none of the people here would accuse them of being sleaze bags or whatever. there would have been little doubt with the first victim and people would be calling for his arrest by the third. would you dare refer to a female statutory rape victim as “jailbait” or “not completely innocent victims”. because these are males youre suspicious of them and question their backgrounds and motives for coming forward. dont you see this what men have done to women for ages in rape cases? dont be like them. this site should know better.