Judge Tosses Three Lawsuits Against Ex-Elmo Puppeteer, Kevin Clash

A man who initially recanted sex abuse allegations against the former puppeteer of the "Sesame Street" character Elmo has sued him, alleging the entertainer lured him into drug-fueled sex when he was 16.
FILE - This Jan. 24, 2011 file photo shows Elmo and puppeteer Kevin Clash of the film "Being Elmo" poses for a portrait in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Clash is being sued by a man who claims the entertainer lured him into drug-fueled sex when he was 16. Sheldon Stephens, who's now 24, says he met Kevin Clash at a networking event. He says he was brought by limousine from Pennsylvania to a New York apartment. There, Clash allegedly smoked crystal meth while giving the teenager another recreational drug. Stephens first made the allegations last year, but recanted after failed efforts to reach a settlement. He renewed the accusations in a lawsuit filed Monday, March 18, 2013, in federal court in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, file)
By//Andrea Watson

All three men who accused Kevin Clash, voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, of sexual abuse had their lawsuits thrown out by U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl.

The L.A. Times reports that the judge said he made Monday’s decision based on the fact that the men had waited much too long to sue. Each man had been over 18 for at least three years before even filing the lawsuit.

In a statement, he wrote the plaintiffs’ claims must be excluded, or barred, since they came forward more than six years after they should have known that the alleged actions by Clash were considered abuse.

The men’s attorney, Adam D. Horowitz, said the case wasn’t dropped because Clash is innocent, but because it expired on statute of limitations grounds, according to Design and

Before resigning from Sesame Street in November of 2012, Clash was Elmo’s voice for 28 years. He left the show after a college student sued him for more than $5 million. He was accused of having sex with the student when he was 15.

There is still one lawsuit in Pennsylvania that is pending.