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Elmo Puppeteer Accuser Recants Teen Sex Claims
The man who accused Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenager has recanted the accusation.
The man is now saying his sexual relationship with Mr Clash, who performs on the popular children's programme as Elmo, was adult and consensual.
In response to his former accuser's statement, Mr Clash issued a statement of his own, saying he was "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest".
The 52-year-old puppeteer, who is openly gay, steadfastly denied claims that he was involved in a sexual relationship with the unidentified man when he was 16 years old.
Mr Clash acknowledged having had a relationship with the man, but insisted it had been "between two consenting adults".
The non-profit organisation behind the show, Sesame Workshop, said it was first made aware of the accusations in June by the alleged partner, who by then was 23.
Sesame Workshop said its own investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.
Sesame Workshop described the relationship as "unrelated to the workplace", but said Mr Clash exercised "poor judgement" and had been disciplined for violating company policy regarding internet usage.
The organisation gave no further details.
Mr Clash has voiced and animated Elmo since the 1980s.
He starred in a documentary in 2011, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, in which he revealed his lifelong ambition to be a puppeteer.