Puppeteer Kevin Clash, the longtime voice of “Elmo,” resigned Tuesday after a $5 million lawsuit labeled him a pedophile who trolled telephone chat rooms in a hunt for underage lovers.
The lawsuit was the second time this month Clash was hit with allegations of a sexual relationship with an underage teenage boy.
The new suit, filed by Cecil Singleton, claims he was just 15 when the award-winning voice of the beloved kids’ character seduced him.
“He presented himself as the perfect gentleman,” Singleton recalled of their first meeting in 2003. “He told me how beautiful I was ... After dinner, we walked and talked.
“He asked me if I might come to his apartment so he could give me a proper good-night kiss. He gave me the most passionate kiss I ever had experienced.”
A torrid two-week romance marked by mutual groping, masturbation and heavy make-out sessions followed despite Singleton’s admission that he was just a high school sophomore.
Clash, 52, “was an unmarried adult male living a prominent public life centered around the entertainment of toddlers, while at the same time he was, in secret, preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests,” charged the Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.
Sesame Workshop, which had granted Clash a leave of absence after the first allegation of sex with a minor, issued a statement accepting his resignation after 28 years as Elmo.
“None of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization,” the statement read. “This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”