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Kevin Clash, Ex-Elmo Puppeteer, Fighting Three Lawsuits In Court

ElmoKevin Clash – the puppeteer who transformed children’s television with his lovable, if shrilly-voiced Elmo character on PBS’s Sesame Street – is back in court this week to address three separate allegations that he had sex with underage boys.

*heavy sigh emitted*

One of the suits addressed yesterday in court – filed by accuser Cecil Singleton – is for a hefty $5m in damages. You’ll recall that Singleton is one of several men who came forward late last year with accusations against Clash, saying he was “groomed” by the ex-puppeteer at age 15 “to satisfy [Clash's] depraved sexual interests,” and that “although the sex occurred nearly 20 years ago, he didn’t take action until now because … he ‘did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.’”

The this-happening-fully-twenty-years-ago bit is crucial to Clash’s defense, it turns out. In court yesterday, Clash’s lawyer claimed that all three of the law suits needed to be thrown out, noting that the statute of limitations restricts a plaintiff’s ability to file for damages to three years after they turn 18 years old. In all three cases, this deadline has clearly looooong since passed.

The judge in the case heard arguments from both sides on the matter, but declined to rule yesterday. For his part, Singleton expressed that he has a bad feeling about his chances of winning the case now, telling reporters: “It didn’t go well, and my attorney didn’t speak enough for me personally.”

So might this be the end of the Disgraced Elmo saga? And even if it is, is there any chance Clash can come back from this – in any context? Further, what do you think of the statute of limitations on sex acts with children? Is it fair to limit bringing these sorts of cases to just three years after the person turns 18?

Image source: Wikimedia

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