Just when you thought it was safe to tickle Elmo again, the erstwhile settled sex scandal roars back with a vengeance.
One day after Kevin Clash's initial accuser, "struggling model" Sheldon Stephens, retracted his recantation and asked to have his $125,000 settlement undone, a second accuser has stepped into the limelight to claim that he too had a sexual relationship with the voice actor while still a minor.
The unnamed man is suing Clash in federal court, claiming the two met in 1993 on a gay phone chat line. Now in his 30s, the accuser says he was 15 at the time, and Clash was 17 years his senior.
Per court documents, obtained by TMZ, the accuser alleges Clash "groomed [him] to gain his trust by, among other things, taking him to nice dinners and giving him money."
He goes on to claim that this was something of a hobby for Clash who regularly "trolled gay telephone chat line rooms to meet and have sex with underage boys."
As to why he hadn't previously come forward, the accuser says he just recently became aware of "adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash's sexual acts and conduct."
The lawsuit seeks over $5 million in damages.
UPDATE: The New York Times is reporting that Clash has just handed Sesame Street his two weeks notice. Sesame Workshop has released the following statement:
Sesame Workshop's mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.
Clash had been the voice of Elmo since 1984.
UPDATE 2: TMZ has identified Clash's second accuser as Cecil Singleton. Further, he is now said to be 24, not "in his 30s" as previously stated. Also, the year of the alleged underage affair was 2003, not 1993. Singleton blamed a "typo" for the error.
[photo via AP]