Kevin Clash, the 28-year voice of popular Sesame Street puppet Elmo has just been cleared of all his sex charges involving three men who alleged he preyed on them when they were minors.
The reason being is a New York judge says the claims exceed the timeline provided by the state’s statute of limitations.
Clash, 53, was accused by multiple men of sexually abusing them over 10 years ago when they were minors. Multiple lawsuits were filed, but in July 2013, a New York judge said that the claims were made too late, as they were outside the state’s statute of limitations, which provides that a lawsuit has to be filed within six years of the event or three years after a plaintiff turns 21.
Clash’s three accusers brought their cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals, alleging the psychological effects of the abuse weren’t fully realized until 2012. But this month, the cases were again dismissed.
Clash resigned from his job as the voice of Elmo in 2012 after the allegations of improper sexual relations with minors became public. He has denied any wrongdoing from the beginning, saying that any relationships he engaged in occurred between consenting adults.
The openly gay puppeteer also released a statement through his lawyer regarding the verdict of the case.
“Kevin is pleased by the judge’s decision,” says Michael G. Berger. “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. “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.”
No report as of yet if any of the accusers are planning an appeal.