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Man who accused Elmo puppeteer of teen sex recants

– A man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy has recanted his story.

In a quick turnabout, the man Tuesday described his relationship as adult and consensual. Clash responded with a statement of his own, saying he is “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest.”

Monday morning, Sesame Workshop announced that Clash had taken a leave of absence from “Sesame Street” in the wake of allegations that he had had a relationship with a 16-year-old.

Clash, a 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter, swiftly denied the charges of his accuser, who is in his early 20s and has not identified himself. In that statement, Clash acknowledged he is gay but said the relationship had been between two consenting adults.

Though it remained unclear where the relationship took place, sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is at least 21.

Sesame Workshop, which said it was first contacted by the accuser in June, had launched an investigation that found the charge of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.

Neither Clash nor Sesame Workshop indicated Tuesday when he might return to the show, on which he has performed as Elmo since 1984.

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