(CNSNews.com) – Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer behind the popular “Elmo” character on PBS’s Sesame Street, resigned from the show today after it was reported that a second man had filed a lawsuit against Clash, claiming that the puppeteer allegedly had engaged in a homosexual relationship with him when he was 15, under the legal age of consent.
The accuser in the lawsuit is identified as Cecil Singleton. The man claims that he first came in contact with Kevin Clash on a gay phone sex line, and that Clash subsequently plied Singleton with dinners and cash.
In a statement released Tuesday, Clash said, "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
The Sesame Workshop did not address the second lawsuit but issued a statement that said: “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," reads the statement. "This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”
Clash had been accused by another man, Sheldon Stevens, of having a sexual relationship with him when he supposedly was underage as well. However, that case was settled for $125,000 and Stevens changed his story, saying that he was 16 when the relationship occurred.
Kevin Clash was born in 1960 and is 52 years old.