Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who created the “Elmo” character during his years working for Sesame Workshop, is facing new accusations of sexual relations with a minor, as well as charges that he used the illegal drug known as crystal meth. Clash resigned from Sesame Street in November of last year after two accusers alleged sexual misconduct.
More on the new lawsuit from NBC News:
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The man behind the iconic “Sesame Street” character is named in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by Sheldon Stephens, who was the first individual to accuse Clash of abuse in 2012.
Stephens claims in a new complaint filed Monday in Middle District Court of Pennsylvania that he and Clash met in 2004 through a social networking event for models and actors. According to a press release sent by Stephens’ attorney Jeff Herman, the complaint includes accusations that Clash and Stephens began having sexual intercourse when Stephens was 16. It details an occasion when Stephens was still 16 and Clash hosted a “crystal meth sex party” at his apartment. The complaint also accuses Clash of doing meth at that party, giving the drugs to Stephens, and engaging in sexual contact with the then-teenager.
Michael Berger, an attorney for Clash, issued a statement Tuesday calling the lawsuit “meritless” and “barred by the statute of limitations.” In the statement, Berger writes that Stephens has “already admitted in writing that he had ‘an adult consensual relationship’ with Mr. Clash. Mr Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing, and we intend to defend this case forcefully.”
Monday, December 31st, 2012
As we turn our calendars to 2013, it’s only natural to look back at the year we’re leaving behind. To that end, Parents.com has published our picks for the top parenting stories of 2012.
Because the piece was written by your very own Parents News Now blogger, I can share with you that the original list contained 11 stories, on topics ranging from autism to to politics to vaccinations and food safety. As the year drew to a close, though, the scandal that led to the resignation of Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, and the unspeakable tragedy of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, necessitated last-minute additions to the feature.
Click here to see the full list of the top 13 parenting news stories of 2012.
Wishing you all a peaceful, joyful 2013, and looking forward to continuing to provide you with the news that affects you, your children, and your families.
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Kevin Clash, the creative force behind the popular “Elmo” character on Sesame Street, has resigned from Sesame Workshop after more than 20 years as the beloved character. The resignation came after a roller coaster week that began with allegations that Clash had a sexual relationship with a minor and Clash took a leave of absence while the matter was under review. The accuser, now 23 years old, then recanted his allegations, only to reverse that decision and return $125,000 Clash had paid. That man, whose name has not been identified, has not filed a lawsuit.
Tuesday, a second accuser emerged, 24-year-old Cecil Singleton, who is suing Clash for $5 million in damages for having “sexual activity” when Singleton was 15. As news of the lawsuit broke, Clash announced his resignation. From The New York Times:
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“Announcing the decision with what he called a “very heavy heart,” Mr. Clash said in a statement, “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately….”
While Mr. Clash’s departure on Tuesday put some distance between the sex allegations and the iconic children’s character, the claims may affect the “Sesame Street” brand in ways that remain to be seen.
Hasbro, the main toy licensee for “Sesame Street” products, said in a statement Tuesday, “We are confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ and that ‘Sesame Street’ toys will continue to delight children for years to come.” Macy’s, in a statement, said the episode would have no bearing on “Sesame Street’s” presence in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade later in the week….
“None of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization,” the organization said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ‘Sesame Street.’”
The statement concluded, “This is a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’ ” The organization declined interview requests.”
Monday, November 19th, 2012
Less than a week after recanting allegations of sexual misconduct against Sesame Street’s famed “Elmo” creator and puppeteer Kevin Clash, the 23-year-old Sheldon Stephens is apparently renewing his accusation, saying he was paid $125,000 by Clash to recant his original complaint and wishes to return the money and pursue the matter through legal channels. More from Boston.com:
“Clash, the puppeteer behind the beloved children’s character Elmo, paid his accuser, Sheldon Stephens, $125,000 to recant a claim that the pair had a sexual relationship when Stephens was 16 and Clash was 45, reports TMZ.
Stephens accused Clash of the inappropriate relationship last week and then recanted his story.
When Stephens recanted, he said, through his lawyers, that “his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”
Now he’s changing his story again.
TMZ reports, ‘We’ve learned Stephens has met with lawyers in Los Angeles and told them he was pressured into recanting his allegation and insists he’s telling the truth when he says he had sex with Clash when he was 16.’”
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Parents will be relieved to learn that the man who had accused Kevin Clash, the creator and voice of the wildly popular Sesame Street character “Elmo,” has recanted his allegations that Clash engaged in an underage sexual relationship with him. The New York Times has more:
“Mr. Clash has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Workshop, the organization that produces “Sesame Street,” to challenge the allegations.
Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the 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.
Mr. Clash said through a spokeswoman: “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”
Sesame Workshop had no immediate comment on when Mr. Clash would return to work. But the organization said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “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.”
On Monday, TMZ said that 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 Mr. Clash.”
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