View the original article at: http://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/sesame-street-elmo-underage-gay-sex-scandal
The man who’s manipulated puppet ELMO since 1985 has suddenly departed Sesame Street in the wake of underage gay sex allegations.
Elmo’s puppeteer Kevin Clash is facing grim charges that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy
Representatives for Sesame Workshop said a 23-year-old man reached out to the company in June claiming that he had a relationship with Clash starting seven years earlier,RadarOnline.com  reported.
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," reps said in a statement.
"We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding Internet usage and he was disciplined."
Clash was then granted leave from the show so he can take action "to protect his reputation." No date was given for his return.
"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," said Sesame Workshop.
Clash reportedly told one media outlet: "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."
Clash has performed with Sesame Street characters since 1979, when he played The Cookie Monster in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
He became an official puppeteer on "Sesame Street" in 1984 .
Ironically, Clash was the subject of a 2011 documentary, Being Elmo, which documented his lifelong love of the art of puppeteering.