Elmo Puppeteer In Deeper Waters

Entertainment

The allegations against Sesame Street’s Elmo puppeteer, Kevin Clash, continue to compile. A new federal lawsuit filed this week by Sheldon Stephens, now 24, accuses Clash of throwing a crystal meth sex party for the teenager in 2004.

Stephens is the fourth man to sue the former Sesame Street star, but is the first to actually claim to the public that he had a sexual relationship with Clash as a teen. Clash’s lawyer, Michael Berger, told CNN on Tuesday that the lawsuit is meritless and barred by the statute of limitations, as Clash continues to deny any wrongdoings on his part.

Last November, Stephens called the relationship that occurred when he was 16, “adult and consensual.” Still, the disclosure was shortly followed by Clash’s suspension from the iconic show, eventually leading to his resignation after providing the high-pitched voice of fuzzy, red Elmo since 1984.

Clash initially acknowledged the relationship as being between “two consenting adults,” but says it is otherwise a false and defamatory allegation. In a statement made last November, Clash proclaims he is a gay man, which he has never been ashamed of, extending that he kept it a secret because it’s a personal and private matter.

Florida lawyer Jeff Herman filed Stephens’ lawsuit Monday. Herman also represented the three other men that emerged with lawsuits last November and December, accusing the puppeteer of befriending them as teenagers and engaging in sex with them.

Clash’s lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss the three other suits due to the federal statute of limitations, which is six years in civil cases such as these. The allegations are correlated to relationships that ended over 10 years ago. The lawsuits, however, are contending that the men involved just realized in the last year that their encounters with Clash resulted in suffered psychological and emotional damage.

The alleged drug use in the most recent case sets it apart from the other accusations. The lawsuit claims, “Clash smoked crystal meth while engaging in sexual activity with Sheldon. Clash also gave Sheldon ‘poppers’ as a sexual aide. While Clash had sexual contact with Sheldon, the chauffeur watched and masturbated.”

Stephens says he met Clash in New York at a social networking event. The lawsuit explains that Clash convinced Stephens that he would help his acting career. The suit resulted in Clash’s resignation, with a statement describing his sorrow for leaving and the need for privacy while resolving his personal matters.

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