By Chris Kaltenbach and Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun
5:20 PM EST, December 10, 2012
A fourth accuser is coming forward to claim he engaged in underage sex with former "Sesame Street" puppeteer Kevin Clash.
On Monday, Florida-based attorney Jeff Herman filed his third lawsuit alleging that Clash, now 52, engaged in sex with minors. Herman also has filed suits on behalf of two of the previous three accusers.
All three cases allege civil — in other words, noncriminal — violations, and are pending in the Southern District of New York. All three seek unspecified damages.
According to the complaint released by Herman's law office, the new accusations involve a boy who was 16 or 17 when he met Clash in late 1995 or early 1996.
The complaint alleges that the unnamed teenager met Clash in Miami Beach when he was looking for work. The boy said Clash approached him and complimented him on his appearance.
"Following their initial meeting, Kevin Clash returned to his home in New York, but remained in frequent contact with [the boy] via telephone," the complaint said.
"During their telephone calls Kevin Clash lured [the boy] to visit him in New York with promises to pay for his plane ticket, be a 'dad' to him in New York, and give him cash and a free place to stay."
The offer appealed to the teen, who had been contemplating running away from home, the complaint said.
The promised visit took place in early 1996. According to the complaint, the boy stayed in Clash's apartment for four days, during which time the pair engaged in extensive sexual activity.
Clash's attorney, Michael Berger, denied the fresh accusations made against his client.
"The lawsuit is without merit," Berger said in a statement released Monday afternoon, "and we will vigorously defend the case and Mr. Clash's reputation."
Clash, a Baltimore County native who was the voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street" for more than a quarter-century, left the show Nov. 20 after two allegations that he had had sex with minors. The first arose a week earlier but was recanted two days later by the accuser, who has since said he regretted recanting the accusation, according to news reports.
Clash, 52, admitted having a sexual relationship with the first accuser but said it did not involve underage sex. After his resignation, he released a statement saying, "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. 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."
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