Elmo puppeteer on leave after denying relationship with teen - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Elmo puppeteer on leave after denying relationship with teen

Posted: Updated:
Puppeteer Kevin Clash with the iconic Elmo at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2011 Puppeteer Kevin Clash with the iconic Elmo at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2011

(CNN) - The puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo is on a leave of absence from Sesame Street after denying he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.

Sesame Street Workshop says it found the allegation against Kevin Clash "unsubstantiated," and granted him leave as he takes "actions to protect his reputation."

In June, the workshop heard from a 23-year-old man who claimed that he had "a relationship" with Clash beginning when he was 16 years old, the workshop said in a written statement.

The statement did not use the word "sexual."

"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined," the Sesame Street Workshop statement said.

"Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.

"Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years."

CNN could not reach Clash immediately for a response.  TMZ reported that Clash said his relationship with the accuser "was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."

Last year, Clash spoke to CNN about the magic of Elmo, a "mirror image" for kids.

Clash, 52, has won Emmy Awards for his work on Sesame Street.

He once spoke with NYC Dads, an initiative of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, about how he worked to spend time with his daughter who lives with his ex-wife outside of Baltimore.

  • Basketball Team Shows Support for Coach Battling Parkinson's Disease

    Basketball Team Shows Support for Coach Battling Parkinson's Disease

    If you know anyone who's battled Parkinson's Disease, you know how difficult the disease is. On Saturday, dozens of people raised awareness and money for research to help those who are living with Parkinson's right here in the Coastal Bend. Bright and early, kayak races were held at Billish Park on Padre Island. The event is called Paddle for Parkinson's. The money raised will help support local people who are battling the disease such as "Coach K" who coaches high school basketball in Port...More >>
    If you know anyone who's battled Parkinson's Disease, you know how difficult the disease is. On Saturday, dozens of people raised awareness and money for research to help those who are living with Parkinson's right here in the Coastal Bend. Bright and early, kayak races were held at Billish Park on Padre Island. The event is called Paddle for Parkinson's. The money raised will help support local people who are battling the disease such as "Coach K" who coaches high school basketball in Port...More >>
  • Pet Owner Arrested, Accused of Cutting off Dog's Leg

    Pet Owner Arrested, Accused of Cutting off Dog's Leg

    New developments this weekend in connection with an animal cruelty case we've been tell you about. Police say they have arrested the pet's owner who is accused of cutting off the dog's leg. 48 year old Steven Mulligan has been charged with animal cruelty and is in jail in lieu of a $25,000 dollar bond. The dog's name is Bugsy. Investigators say Mulligan, in an attempt to deal with an infection in the dog's leg, gave the dog a human pain killer, and then proceeded to cut it off. The director ...More >>
    New developments this weekend in connection with an animal cruelty case we've been tell you about. Police say they have arrested the pet's owner who is accused of cutting off the dog's leg. 48 year old Steven Mulligan has been charged with animal cruelty and is in jail in lieu of a $25,000 dollar bond. The dog's name is Bugsy. Investigators say Mulligan, in an attempt to deal with an infection in the dog's leg, gave the dog a human pain killer, and then proceeded to cut it off. The director ...More >>
  • Police Successfully Prevent a Woman from Jumping off the Harbor Bridge

    Police Successfully Prevent a Woman from Jumping off the Harbor Bridge

    Some tense moments for Corpus Christi Police as they tried to prevent a woman from jumping off the top of the Harbor Bridge. It happened around 4 Saturday afternoon, when police say a 47 year old woman stepped over the rail and attempted to commit suicide. Police quickly responded and closed off several lanes of the Harbor Bridge. The officers called in the hostage negotiation team and had the Marina Patrol shut down the Port of Corpus Christi for a brief time. Fire fighters assisted in tryi...More >>
    Some tense moments for Corpus Christi Police as they tried to prevent a woman from jumping off the top of the Harbor Bridge. It happened around 4 Saturday afternoon, when police say a 47 year old woman stepped over the rail and attempted to commit suicide. Police quickly responded and closed off several lanes of the Harbor Bridge. The officers called in the hostage negotiation team and had the Marina Patrol shut down the Port of Corpus Christi for a brief time. Fire fighters assisted in tryi...More >>