Kevin Clash and his Sesame Street counterpart share a number in common: four! As in, four fingers on each of Elmo's hand and now four lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct against the former puppeteer.
Sheldon Stephens, the man who ignited the controversy that led to Clash's resignation from "Sesame Street," has filed suit against the long-time Elmo puppeteer. The latest lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania on Monday, alleges that Clash engaged in numerous sexual encounters with plaintiff Sheldon Stephens, who was 16 years old at the time. Stephens claims that, after meeting Clash in 2004, the puppeteer "lured Stevens from Pennsylvania to New York for sexual encounters."
The lawsuit describes one particularly sordid ordeal in which the puppeteer engaged in not only underage sex but also drug use, wherein Stephens and Clash were driven by a chauffeur to the chauffeur's apartment. "While in the apartment, Clash smoked crystal meth while engaging in sexual activity with Sheldon. Clash also gave Sheldon 'poppers' [a slang phrase for alkyl nitrites] as a sexual aide," the lawsuit reads. "While Clash had sexual contact with Sheldon, the chauffeur watched and masturbated."
Stephens had originally made the allegations last year, eventually recanting over the possibility of a settlement. However, with no settlement reached, the accuser is returning to court with a lawsuit which Clash's attorney states is "meritless and barred by the statute of limitations... [W]e have moved to dismiss all three of those cases," Clash's attorney said. "Mr. Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing, and we intend to defend this case forcefully."
Clash stands accused of sexual battery for childhood sexual abuse; travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; and coercion and enticement to sexual activity. Stephens is asking for unspecified damages (said to exceed $75,000) and coverage of his legal expenses.