Good news for former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash: the three sexual abuse lawsuits against him have been dropped. They weren’t dropped by the plaintiffs, but rather thrown out of court by Federal Judge Kevin Koeltl because the statute of limitations on all three cases had passed. NBC News reports, “a plaintiff has six years after the cause of action or three years after they turn 21 to file claims, and none of the three lawsuits were filed within those time frames.”
NBC goes on to note, “In their claims against Clash, who resigned from “Sesame Street” in November after 28 years, the plaintiffs said they had not realized they were victimized until they learned about each other last year, and realized they were manipulated and it was an ongoing practice.”
Jeff Herman, the Miami lawyer who represents the three men, says he will appeal the judge’s decision and continue to fight. He told NBC, “We believe that the victims in this case are within the statute of limitations, but this ruling highlights the need for a window in New York to allow victims to have their day in court.”
Sesame Workshop has declined to comment about the case, but Clash is still being recognized professionally for his work as Elmo in spite of his legal battles. He was awarded a Daytime Emmy for “outstanding performer in a children’s series” as well as “two others he shared with the show, totaling 26 total Emmys in his career,” NBC notes.
How do you feel about the statute of limitations being applied in this case? Do you think it’s fair to grant those who were sexually abused as teens more time to come clean about their experiences as they realize the abusive nature of the relationship with age? Even if these cases are never brought before a judge, can Clash’s career in children’s television recover?