This Jan. 24, 2011 photo shows "Sesame Street" muppet Elmo and puppeteer Kevin Clash. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, file)
The Petraeus-Broadwell affair continues to develop into a bizarre scandal, pulling more people into its orbit as the days go by.
But political sex scandals are nothing new. This one is more shocking for the high levels into the military and CIA for which it has reached. In many ways, it pales to the story of Kevin Clash.
The muppeteer is accused of having an improper relationship with an underage boy. Clash, 52, is the creator of the iconic Elmo character and is on leave from Sesame Street while the situation is investigated and Clash says he works to clear his name. For his part, Clash denies any sexual relationship with anyone under 18.
Clash's accuser claims the relationship started when he was 16 and Clash was 45. Now, gossip site TMZ has what it says is email - what is it with emails and these people? - from Clash to his accuser - sent well after the accuser was 18, according to the report:
Clash writes, "I'm sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, its driving me insane."
"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."
"I'll have my assistant book a ticket for you to come to NY and we can talk about this in person."
Clash admits to a sexual relationship with the accuser, but says it started after he was 18.
The Sun-Times' Bill Zwecker reports that this is likely the end for Clash, if not in children's entertainment, at least at Sesame Street:
. . . sources told this column Monday it was "highly unlikely" Clash would ever return as Elmo's alter ego. "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."
Clash has not addressed the email report yet, but did release a statement when the story broke proclaiming 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. 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."