Sesame Workshop says Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street in the wake of allegations that he had sex with an under-aged youth.
Last week a man accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy, a charge Clash denied. A day later, the man recanted his charge.
A lawsuit by a second accuser, Cecil Singleton, was filed today in New York.
The 24-year-old college student has accused longtime Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexually abusing him over a two-week period when he was 15. Singleton said they met on a gay chat line. At a news conference, Singleton said he had no idea at the time what Clash did for a living.
Singleton's lawyer, Jeff Herman, said he had been contacted by two other potential victims and expected additional legal action
Sesame Workshop called the controversy surrounding Clash's personal life "a distraction that none of us want" and says it led to his decision to leave the show.
Clash created the voice and persona for Elmo, who has become one of Sesame Street's most popular characters. Other puppeteers are carrying on the Elmo character.
Clash issued a statement saying he was "resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart."
"I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization," the statement said. "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."