An adult man dressed as the character Elmo from Sesame Street was charged with groping a teen tourist in New York’s Times Square.
The Daily Mail is reporting that a man named Inocente Andrade-Pacheco, 54, was arrested and taken into police custody on Saturday after he allegedly groped a young girl’s rear on Broadway near 46th Street. As the girl’s family posed for a picture with the man in the Elmo costume, he allegedly groped the 14-year old’s bottom. The family called the police and Andrade-Pacheco was arrested and charged with forcible touching.
This is not the first time one of the people in costume was arrested for inappropriate fondling or touching of a visitor to the Times Square area. Council members have suggested creating places where the performers can stand and greet, and spaces that are for pedestrians only.
Councilmember Dan Garodnick, a sponsor of the bill believes that they need spaces to create a little order out of the chaos. The president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, believes that things need to be taken even further.
“The police are doing what they can, but we think there’s a need for some additional regulations or legislation, and we know the City Council is working on that.”
— New York Post (@nypost) September 9, 2019
The New York Post referred to the man as a “costumed creeper,” saying that he was charged with forcible touching, acting in a manner injurious to a child and other charges.
The Gothamist reported that another man who dresses as Elmo also has been arrested in the past, but not for groping. A man named Adam Sandler (no relation to the actor) was arrested for yelling anti-Semitic slurs at people who walked by, but has expressed anger that he’s been lumped in with the gropers, like the man who dresses as Super Mario.
“I saw my name came up in relation to [the alleged Mario grope], but my situation was different. They’re rehashing me because there are some big problems with the cartoon characters.”
Sandler was arrested for screaming “I hate Jews,” but he says that the sexual allegations against other characters and Kevin Clash, the creator of Elmo have ruined performing in costume for everyone, and now people yell at him, calling him a pedophile, and saying he shouldn’t be trusted around children.
“That… had some effect on my business.”
Kevin Clash resigned from working as the puppeteer for Elmo after allegations surfaced that he had sex with minor boys.