Kevin Clash (pictured), the famous voice of Sesame Street‘s most-beloved puppet Elmo for 28 years has reportedly been cleared of three sexual abuse charges due to a statute of limitations law by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a New York State judge’s ruling from last July, according to People Magazine.
The 53-year-old puppeteer made scandalous headlines beginning in 2012, after being accused of sexually molesting a number of men who were minors at the time of the incidents that allegedly took place about 10 years ago.
Consequently, there were multiple lawsuits filed, but last July, a judge ruled that the victim’s claims were filed past New York State’s six years statute of limitations law. Clash’s three accusers then brought their cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals, alleging the psychological effects of the abuse weren’t fully realized until 2012. Lawsuits within New York State, however, must be filed within a six-year period of an event or three years after the plaintiff turns 21 years of age.
The high-pitch voice of the iconic red furry Elmo, who resigned from his puppeteering duties back in 2012 when news of the first go-round of sexual allegations went public, has never admitted to any wrongdoing. In fact, Clash has insisted since the beginning of the sexual allegations, that he had engaged in sexual trysts with consenting adults.
One case, however, is reportedly still pending from Clash’s first accuser, Sheldon Stephens. The 25-year-old man alleges that Clash seduced and brought him to New York City for sexual encounters when he was only 16 years old. The young man then recanted his story after going public stating that the affair was consensual. Months later, Stephens filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania again accusing Clash of sexual abuse.
Stephens grabbed headlines again recently when he was sentencedto five years intermediate punishment, with the first three months to be served in the Dauphin County, Penn., prison for diverting pension checks in to his own account while serving as an intern for the Public School Employees’ Retirement System. As part of Stephens’ sentence, he was also ordered to pay $4,117 in restitution.