Elmo puppeteer accused of underage relationship, taking leave from 'Sesame Street'
NEW YORK (AP) -- The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on "Sesame Street" is taking a leave of absence from the popular kids' show following allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
Bing: More on Kevin Clash
Sesame Workshop says puppeteer Kevin Clash denies the charges, which were first made in June by the alleged partner, who by then was 23.
In a statement issued Monday, Sesame Workshop said its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised "poor judgment" and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no details.
Clash told TMZ, "I had a relationship with (the accuser). It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."
At his request, Clash has been granted a leave of absence in order to "protect his reputation," Sesame Workshop says. No duration for the leave was specified. Clash has voiced and animated Elmo since the 1980s and was the subject of the 2011 documentary "Being Elmo."
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Like us on Facebook?
UP NEXT'Best night'
From Crowd Ignite