*UPDATE: New York Times reporter Brian Stelter says Kevin Clash’s accuser has recanted his allegation of an underage sexual relationship. NYT states:
Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser, who has never been named, said in a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
The accuser’s identity has not been disclosed.
Mr. Clash said through a spokesman: “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”
New details continue to emerge in the shocking sex scandal involving longtime Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, 52, and his 23-year-old accuser who claims their sexual relationship occurred while he was an underage teen boy.
Sources close to Sesame Workshop say the possible “lovers’ quarrel” could simply be a ploy for financial gain, but the devastating claims against Clash will make his return to Sesame Street “highly unlikely.”
“In fact, unless things suddenly move in Kevin’s direction right away, and he is proven to be a victim of an ugly smear — rather than an adult sexual predator of a minor — he is finished in the world of children’s entertainment,” a source told Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Racy emails between Clash and his accuser were leaked early Tuesday morning shedding more light on the scandal.
“I’m sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, it’s driving me insane,” Clash writes in an email reportedly sent after the accuser turned 18. “[...] I want you to know that I love you and I will never hurt you. I’m here to protect you and make sure your dreams come true.”
He continued, “I’ll have my assistant book a ticket for you to come to NY and we can talk about this in person.”
On Monday, Clash began his leave of absence to deal with the accuser’s allegations. While his reputation and future with the children’s program hang in the balance, the famed puppeteer maintains his innocence.
“I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter,” Clash told NBC News in a statement.
“I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.”
Clash’s accuser is being represented by Andreozzi and Associates, the same firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.