Kevin Clash, puppeteer and voice of Elmo, resigned from Sesame Street on Tuesday following a sex scandal that widened to involve claims from a second man who filed a lawsuit alleging that Clash sexually abused him as a youth.
Announcing the decision with what he called a "very heavy heart," Mr. Clash said in a statement, "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work 'Sesame Street' is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately," New York Times reported.
His statement came at around the same time that a lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York accusing him of "sexual activity" with a 15-year-old. The accuser, Cecil Singleton, is now 24. The suit said that Mr. Singleton "did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash's sexual acts and conduct until 2012." It sought $5 million in damages.
The first man that had accused Clash of underage sex, when he was a teen, withdrew that claim, but then said the reason he did so was because he was paid to.