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Elmo puppeteer accuser: 'Our relationship was consensual'

ACCUSED: Sesame Street star Kevin Clash with Elmo

THE MAN who claimed that the voice actor behind beloved Sesame Street puppet Elmo had a sexual-relationship with him when he was 16-year-old, has spoken out for the first time.

According to TMZ American puppeteer, Kevin Clash, 52, admitted to having a relationship with the accuser but only when the accuser was an adult.

A recent statement released by the unidentified man’s lawyer, reportedly read: “[The accuser] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. [The accuser] will have no further comment.”

Clash, who always vehemently denied the allegations, also issued a statement in response: “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”

Previously he told TMZ: “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.”

Sesame Workshop officials also told the website: “In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old."

"This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action.”

The company continued: "Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so."

However, the accuser’s lawyers - Andreozzi and Associates – allegedly claim that Sesame Workshop attempted to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters.”

Andreozzi and Associates added: "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."

Sesame Workshop denied that claim but did confirm that Elmo will continue to appear on television, adding: “Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world."

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