By Jill Reilly

PUBLISHED: 06:51 EST, 12 November 2012 | UPDATED: 08:14 EST, 12 November 2012

The man who voices the puppet of Elmo on Sesame Street has taken leave amid allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Kevin Clash, 52, has taken a leave of absence from the popular children's show after the programme's lawyers were contacted by a 23-year-old man who claims he had a sexual relationship with the puppeteer seven years ago, when he was aged 16.

TMZ, who reported the allegations, said that Mr Clash had admitted he had a relationship with the man, but only after the accuser was an adult and said the accusations were both false and defamatory.
'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,' said Mr Clash who joined Sesame Street in the mid-80s,

The website reported that after the accuser's initial meeting with Sesame Street lawyers, he felt that that he was being silenced so he hired a lawyer.

He is now being represented by Andreozzi and Associates - the firm that worked with one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.
In August, the accuser's lawyers wrote a letter to Sesame Street accusing the programme of trying to 'discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters,'

The letter also claimed the show's attitude 'places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man.'

But Sesame Workshop officials told TMZ they found the the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated after a thorough investigation. Read More>