Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The man who accused Elmo creator Kevin Clash of starting an underage sexual relationship with him is changing his story. Family and neighbors of the Sesame Street puppeteer are speaking out about the allegations.
Gigi Barnett has more.
The allegations of underage sex against Baltimore-born puppeteer Kevin Clash are gone now.
He’s the voice behind Elmo, one of Sesame Street’s stars.
“Elmo is having so much fun in Baltimore. Elmo can’t wait to eat some crab cakes,” Clash said in character during an earlier interview.
But now, his 23-year-old accuser is recanting the allegations that Clash started a sexual relationship when he was just 16, under the age of consent in New York.
Clash went on leave from Sesame Street.
But now his accuser says the relationship was an “adult, consensual relationship.” The 52-year-old admitted to having a relationship with the accuser but denied the claim, calling it a “painful allegation.”
His friends and family in Turner Station agree.
“My first thought was that it was a money thing,” said a relative, who doesn’t want to be identified. “That somebody was trying to get…Kevin had acquired a little money and he was trying to get money out of him.”
The relative says the community still backs him.
“Kevin has been very supportive of this community and this community will support him,” she said.
Clash grew up in Turner Station and relatives say he visits — especially during the holiday — to give to toy drives.
“It’s really puzzling. That’s the thing. People do anything, really,” said James Barnett.
Sesame Street officials have conducted their own investigation and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. In a statement, they say they hope Clash can move on from this episode.