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A day after a man accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him while he was still a minor, the accuser has recanted his story.
According to The New York Times, Andreozzi & Associates, the law firm that he hired to represent him, released a statement late Tuesday. “He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship,” the statement read. “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
The name of the accuser, who is now 23, has not been released.
Clash also issued a statement that read, “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”
Clash has maintained his innocence from the moment that TMZ first reported the story on Monday. He admitted having a relationship with the accuser, but said that it was only after the boy turned 18.
“I had a relationship with [the accuser],” Clash said at the time. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
Sesame Workshop had investigated the matter and interviewed the accuser several times. He was not able to produce any evidence to prove his claims, the company, which produces Sesame Street, told TMZ.
Clash has been the voice behind Elmo since the 1980s and was the focus of the 2011 documentary, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. The story has forced him to reveal that he is gay, stating, “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”
UPDATE: NBC News reports that Sesame Workshop released a statement that read, "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."
It is still not known if Clash will end his leave of absence and return to the show.