Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Issues Statement on Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissals
Kevin Clash, the Emmy-winning Elmo puppeteer and target of a trio of lawsuits alleging underage sex abuse, is "pleased" after a New York City judge ruled Monday that his accusers' claims were filed too late and are thereby barred by the statute of limitations.
"Kevin is pleased by the judge's decision," his attorney, Michael G. Berger, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "As we have maintained all along, our goal has been to put these spurious claims behind him so that Kevin can go about the business of re-claiming his personal life and his professional standing, which was recently recognized once again by the three Emmys he won last month."
Berger added: "The judge's decision to dismiss and close the three lawsuits is an important step in that direction. Kevin is looking forward to a time in the near future when he can tell his story free of innuendo and false claims."
Last November, the 52-year-old puppeteer resigned from Sesame Workshop as accusers stepped forward to allege they had sex with Clash while underage. They included an anonymous John Doe who claimed that Clash paid to fly him from Miami to New York to be sexually abused in the mid-'90s; Cecil Singleton, who says he met Clash on a gay telephone chatline in 2003; and Kevin Kiadii, who says he had a relationship with Clash in 2004.
Clash's attorneys acted to have the lawsuits dismissed as outside the statute of limitations, arguing that a lawsuit must be filed within six years of the event or three years after a plaintiff turns 21.
Clash had voiced Elmo since 1985, launching the sweet-natured, red-furred puppet -- who'd been a recurring character since the '70s -- to a greater level of fame alongside Big Bird and Cookie Monster. He has won 26 Daytime Emmys for his Sesame Street work, including three trophies at the 40th annual ceremony last month.