The man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him has recanted.
The 24-year-old, who has not identified himself, accused Clash of having sex with him when he was 16 and Clash was 45. Clash denied the charges, but took a leave of absence from Sesame Street Monday after the allegations came out.
Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented Clash’s accuser, issued 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.”
Clash issued a statement of his own through a spokeswoman Tuesday, saying, “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”
Sesame Workshop would not comment on when Clash would return to the show. But the organization also issued a statement Tuesday 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.”
TMZ reported Monday that the accuser contacted Sesame Workshop last summer claiming that he had a sexual relationship with Clash beginning when he was 16. Officials at the organization said they thoroughly investigated the accusation over several months using outside investigators and believed the allegations to be false.
Clash’s leave was granted Sunday when it became clear that TMZ was planning to run the story about the allegations. He said Monday that the relationship was between two consenting adults, which the accuser has now admitted with his retraction.
Kevin Clash admitted to being a gay man after the 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey came out. He had not previously spoken about his sexuality in public, but said in a statement, “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”