"Sesame Street" muppet Elmo "Sesame Street" muppet Elmo and puppeteer Kevin Clash
/ AP Photo/Victoria Will, file
(USA TODAY) - A fourth accuser has come forward with a lawsuit against Sesame Street's former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash.
The unidentified man charges that when he was 16 or 17 in late 1995 or early 1996, he met Clash in Miami Beach. After subsequent phone calls, Clash "lured the boy to visit him in New York, with promises to pay for his plane ticket, be a 'dad' to him in New York and give him cash and a free place to stay," according to an excerpt from the filing released by Miami-based attorney Jeff Herman. Herman also represents two of the three previous Clash accusers.
The offer appealed to the boy, "who was contemplating running away from home," according to the suit, which was filed in Miami.
"These are all vulnerable boys," Herman said at a Miami press conference. "None of them had father figures in their lives and they were looking for that father figure."
In a statement, Clash's attorney, Michael Berger, said "the lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously defend the case and Mr. Clash's reputation."
Clash, now 52, resigned from Sesame Workshop, where he had worked as an executive producer and puppeteer for 28 years, on Nov. 20, the same day a second accuser stepped forward after a first had made, then recanted, abuse allegations.
By Gary Levin, USA Today
Contributing: Associated Press