NEW YORK (AP) — The producers of "Sesame Street" say the actor who works the Elmo puppet and does the character's voice won't be returning to work right away.
They say Kevin Clash has asked for "some additional time to put this ordeal behind him."
He'd taken a leave of absence amid an allegation that he'd had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy. The accuser is now in his 20s. Clash is 52.
But yesterday, the accusation was withdrawn. The accuser released a statement saying that he and Clash had actually had a relationship as adults, and that it was consensual.
It's not known why he made the accusation.
Clash released a statement saying he's "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest."
He's been performing as Elmo on "Sesame Street" since 1984.
043-v-30-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent)--A man has recanted a story involving Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash. The AP's Ed Donahue reports. (14 Nov 2012)
APPHOTO NYET255: FILE - This Jan. 24, 2011 file photo shows "Sesame Street" muppet Elmo posing for a portrait with the assistance of puppeteer Kevin Clash in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to promote the documentary "Being Elmo" in Park City, Utah. Too often, it seems, the happy band of Muppets on"Sesame Street" are faced with hairpin detours through the mean streets of politics and scandal. Big Bird became an unwitting player in a presidential debate and Elmo puppeteer Clash faced an allegation that he had had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy — an accusation that was withdrawn the next day. But the show's producers can take solace in one simple fact: Their target child audience remains blissfully unaware. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, file) (24 Jan 2011)
APPHOTO NYET111: FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with the "Sesame Street" muppet in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The man who accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teen now says it isn't so. The man said in a statement released on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 that his sexual relationship with Clash was adult and consensual. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, File) (24 Jan 2011)