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'Elmo' puppeteer accuser Sheldon Stephens files suit alleging meth use

6:30 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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Kevin Clash is the voice of Elmo, the Sesame Street character.

(USA TODAY) Sheldon Stephens, the first of four men to have accused Sesame Street's former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse, filed a lawsuit late Monday.

In the suit, Stephens alleges Clash used crystal meth and "poppers" before engaging in sexual contact with him when he was 16 years old.

According to the complaint, Sheldon met Clash in 2004 at a social networking event for models and actors, and shortly after they met, Clash told Stephens he would help him advance his career. The complaint alleges Clash began having sexual intercourse with Stephens when he was 16.

The complaint also alleges that on one occasion, a chauffeur drove Clash and Stephens to the chauffeur's apartment where they had a crystal-meth "sex party," and that Clash smoked meth while engaging in sexual activity with Stephens.

A statement from Clash's attorney Michael Berger called the suit "meritless." Said the statement, "The plaintiff has already admitted in writing that he had 'an adult consensual relationship' with Mr. Clash. Mr. Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing, and we intend to defend this case forcefully."

Sheldon Stephens v. Kevin Clash was filed Monday night in United States District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania. Stephens, now 24 and a Pennsylvania native, originally accused Clash in November, then recanted that accusation; at the time, Clash had denied the accusations. Stephens scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon in New York City.

Carol Memmott, USA TODAY

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