herald

Monday 24 November 2014

Elmo star faces fourth sex abuse claim

FORMER Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash is facing another sex abuse allegation from a man who claims he abused him when he was a teenager.

The man alleges the voice actor befriended him in Miami in 1996 and promised to be a father figure before flying him to New York to have sex with him.

The alleged victim is the fourth to accuse Clash, who resigned from Sesame Street last month after 28 years.

The three legal actions filed so far have been civil cases seeking financial compensation.

The incident with the latest victim, referred to only as SM, could involve criminal charges because the lawsuit claims Clash transported him across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

Attorney Jeff Herman said he encouraged his client to report the incident to authorities but it is unclear if the alleged victim, now 33, has done so. Sexual abuse allegations against Clash triggered a media frenzy last month.

He quickly denied the first claim, which was recanted the next day. But Clash then resigned after college student, Cecil Singleton (24) sued him for US $5m (¤3.8m), saying the actor engaged in sexual behaviour with him when he was 15.

Mr Singleton claims the voice actor met him in New York a dozen years ago after trolling gay telephone chat lines and seeking under-age boys for sex.

In the latest case, the plaintiff said Clash approached him on Miami Beach and struck up a friendship. Clash returned to New York, but stayed in touch with him. The youth, who was 16 or 17 at the time, had been molested by a teacher and was considering running away from home, according to the lawsuit.

"These are all vulnerable boys. None of them had father figures in their lives and they were looking for that father figure," said Mr Herman, who represents three of the alleged victims.

The lawsuit says Clash paid for a plane ticket from Florida to New York and arranged for a car service to bring the then teen to his apartment, where he gave him cash and engaged in numerous sexual acts.

hnews@ herald.ie

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