Street Justice: Voice of Elmo Facing Charges For Allegedly Having Sex With Underaged Boy

Word on “the street” is not good for Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo. Clash was arrested is facing charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy. Clash insists that the accused, now 23, was 18 when they started having an intimate relationship. Truth be known, I always thought it would be tightly wound Bert who ended up in the slammer. Notably, it was the Show that appears to have reported Clash.[UPDATE: The accuser, who remains nameless, has recanted his allegations].

The alleged victim says that Clash engaged in sexual acts with him when he was 16 and Clash was 45.
The case is interesting in that the accused went to the Sesame Workshop to report that alleged crime.  Clash appears to have taken the position that this is a relationship gone bad and the accuser is pre-dating their intimate relationship out of spite.

The program stated that “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 show stressed that the show will go on and that “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.” That appears to suggest that they do not consider him a witness or, worst yet, a giggling accomplice.

The challenge for the defense in such a case is obviously the optics. “Tickle Me, Elmo” takes on a more sinister meaning in a criminal case. For that reason, defense counsel might try to keep Clash’s job out of the trial with a pre-trial motion as inherently prejudicial. His work as the voice of Elmo has nothing to do with the alleged crime as it has been reported. However, being involved in a children’s program would likely create an immediate bias for many jurors.

Clash previously co-authored a book about his work in 2006 titled “My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud.”

Clash issued the following statement:

“I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.”

It is not clear what evidence establishes the date of the sexual relationship from the published reports.


63 thoughts on “Street Justice: Voice of Elmo Facing Charges For Allegedly Having Sex With Underaged Boy”

  1. @Gene: Well the point wasn’t to legislate teen sex out of existence, it was to prevent 25, 35, and 45 year old con men from trolling the middle school.

    Misrepresentation is a different matter, I think, and certainly a man fooled by a 15 year old that looks like a 20 year old is guilty of far less than a 40 year old man that has consciously developed a patter that he knows exploits the inexperience and cognitive deficits of 15 year old girls to get them into bed.

    Claiming that “nature made them ready” is simply untrue, nature made them ready for the physical act, it has not nearly made them ready to assess the consequences. An autistic woman with the mental ability of a five year old is ALSO physically mature enough to engage in sex, but she is not mentally capable of informed consent. The mind matters, in law, and a 15 or 16 year old’s brain is not fully developed.

    It is true, in this peculiar case, that a child might deceive an adult into thinking the sex was legal. I think that is something a jury should decide, since it varies by person and circumstance. If the man is the male gym coach and the 16 year old girl is a student at the school where he works and that is where he met her, then jail him, he knows her age. Ditto if she is the daughter of a friend. If the same man met the 16 year old girl in a bar, which he could plausibly take as a proxy for believing she was of age, then he’s innocent.

    It would not be unusual in the law to treat the same act between two people differently based on the circumstances that led to it; just as we do not consider ending another person’s life as always being a murder.

    I think the question is about intentional predation by adults targeting mental children. Cases of mistaken identity, fraud, or unintentional harm are indeed different than that and should be dealt with differently.

  2. Tony,

    Hence the language about valid consent as a consideration. This is part of why half of the states with 16 as the AoC use close age exclusions. But the fact is you can’t legislate teen sex out of existence. I’ve met 16 year olds that could pass for 20. Should some guy be on a sex offender registration for life because at 25 he took the bait being freely and consciously offered by a gal who said she was 20? No. That’s not justice. Yet that sort of thing happens.

    Part of this problem could be resolved too by reserving sex offender lists solely for rapists and pedophiles and having a uniform age of consent with or without rational close age qualifiers.

  3. This is one sick case. I agree with Frankly’s early comment.
    I do not think anyone in Kansas is ready to make a life decision at the age of 16! They probably got that age from the bible. 🙂

  4. @Gene: I think the age of consent needs to be examined in this country and uniformly brought in line with what science indicates is natural behavior.

    Science also shows that brain development is not complete until 22, maybe even 25. This is particularly true for the parts of the cortex that are involved in repressing impulsive and dangerous behavior, and in assessing consequences of behavior; in the last great brain organization that occurs from puberty to adulthood, the brain is revved up (neuronal transmission speed is more than doubled by myelin sheathing), but it is done in an order that emphasizes emotional impulsiveness and sexual activity. It isn’t “hormones” that drive teenage behavior, it is a race car engine in the part of the brain that controls the groin combined with a two-cycle scooter engine in the part of the brain that can think beyond the next 15 seconds.

    Teens are basically sooo emotionally dominated they should be considered cognitively disabled in the “rational choice” department. That is probably the evolutionary plan, to get pregnant by 15 and damn the consequences (as my parents did), but they are not really adults capable of informed consent, they still have a 12 year old’s rationality engine in a 16 year old body.

    Personally, I think that is the science that should be taken into account for both parties. An 19 year old with a 15 year old is essentially two impulsive children. A jury should recognize that. A 25 year old with a 15 year old is a much different story, that is a fully developed adult exploiting a child.

  5. Paul,

    Your statement begs the question that natural normal human sexual development is either immoral or unethical when it is neither. That’s Puritanical. See the 1st Amendment for why that’s not a good basis for governance.

  6. “Why are the laws still criminalizing natural human behavior?”

    The premise of this staement is that all natural human behavior is moral or ethical. It is neither. It may be natural for an individual to steal or murder but that does not equate that it is moral or ethical. This is a shortsighted view.

  7. State laws and the ages and age differences for consent probably have more to do with whom the legislators were f***ing at the time the laws were passed —

  8. What’s also interesting as I study the list further, there doesn’t seem to be the stale red/blue divide here, it’s pretty eclectic.

  9. Great link, thanks Gene. I have only worked in 3 states[Mo.,IL and Wi., 17,17, and 18 respectively]. I’m surprised @ the number w/ 16. Live and learn!

  10. 16 is the age of consent in some states already, nick. Some with close age exemptions and some with no restrictions past the age.

    Here’s a summary:

    That 28 states total; 14 where the age of consent is flatly 16 and 14 where the age of consent is 16 with close age exceptions.

  11. kraaken, The reason I said why have an argument is because I don’t know the right answer, do you? Does anyone? I have more questions than answers and I have experience in this matter. I’m wrong to dictate, so I apologize to you for that. If you want to argue this is America.

  12. Gene, Tough time selling 15 and 16 to the public. I’m a pragmatist. However, I have long thought the disparity in age is almost as important. An 18 year old w/ a 16 year old is quite different than a 45 year old w/ a 16 year old. maybe disparity in age could be factored into the law.

  13. Gene,

    Yeah but, I bet it would do her a world of good to beat you with a wet noodle … all she needs is a reason. 😈

  14. She’s fully aware of what a lil’ letch I was as a teenager, Blouise. Well. Kinda of aware. Well. She knows a couple of things. Well. She may have walked in on me and someone two or five times. But don’t upset her with the whole story. She’s not a well woman. :mrgreen:

  15. “Also keep in mind that teens will and do lie to get sex. I know, I’ve seen me do it.” (Gene)

    So many comments come to mind that I am overwhelmed with choices and thus speechless but … I am going to call your mother.

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