By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com November 27 2012 3:29 PM ET
A third man has come forward claiming to have had sex with Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash while under the legal age of consent.
The man, identified only by the pseudonym “John Doe,” filed suit against Clash today in federal court in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reports. He claims he was 16 years old when he met Clash on a gay chat line in 2000, then went to his New York apartment, where Clash gave him alcoholic beverages and the two “engaged in sexual contact including oral sex,” according to the suit, which seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
Doe also alleges that Clash went on to call him repeatedly to arrange meetings for sex and that the two had a steady sexual relationship after Doe turned 18 and moved from New Jersey to New York. At this point, Doe says, he did an Internet search and discovered Clash’s real name and that he was the puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Elmo character. Clash had called himself “Craig,” according to the suit.
Doe’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, said his client wrote a book about the relationship in 2009, and Herman said he would have pages from the book at a press conference today. Herman also represents Cecil Singleton, who last week filed suit claiming he and Clash had sex when Singleton was only 15. Earlier, a man named Sheldon Stephens alleged that he had sex with Clash when Stephens was underage, but he then recanted and said they had an “adult consensual relationship.” He later recanted his recantation, saying he was pressured into doing so to settle his claims.
Clash resigned last week from Sesame Street, where he had worked for 28 years, saying the accusations had become a distraction that interfered with his ability to do his job. He has come out as gay but said he did not break any consent laws. A spokeswoman for Clash told the Daily News the latest suit is “without merit.”