Voice of Elmo makes deal with Sheldon Stephens to publicly recant claims of underage sex.
Despite a six-figure settlement with the man who accused him of sex abuse, Kevin Clash's legal problems are far from over.
The voice actor and puppeteer, best known as the voice of beloved Sesame Street character Elmo, had settled out of court with Sheldon Stephens for a reported $125,000, provided Stephens makes a public statement retracting his claim that Clash solicited sex from him when Stephens was a minor. Now, Stephens is seeking a lawyer who will help him reverse the settlement, claiming he was pressured into accepting the payout.
According to details of the settlement revealed by TMZ, Stephens, now believed to be 24, had to repeat the precise statement under the terms of settlement: "Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement ... 'He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.'"
A source told TMZ that Stephens cried throughout the final negotiations with Clash's lawyers and repeatedly insisted he didn't want to sign. The source also contends that even though Stephens ended up signing the settlement, he continues to insist Clash had sex with him when he was a minor. Stephens is also telling his lawyers that he will gladly forfeit the payment in order to clear his name.
Clash, who has been on leave from Sesame Street since his legal troubles began, has admitted to having a relationship with Stephens, but maintains it was well after Stephens became a legal and consenting adult.
Stephens contacted Clash's bosses at Sesame Street several weeks ago, alleging that Clash started a sexual relationship with him when he was sixteen. Clash has maintained his innocence throughout, and Stephens lost a lot of credibility when his identity as a wannabe model with a history of blackmail and burglary of former bosses was revealed.
Clash has remained mum about the details of the settlement, except to say, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."
It is unclear when, or if, Clash will return to Sesame Street.
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(Photos from left: Courtesy NY Post,Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)