Published November 20, 2012
NEW YORK – In 2011, Muppeteer Kevin Clash starred in the Sundance award-winning documentary "Being Elmo."
"When I was nine years old, it was just a dream that I had: Wow, I wish that I could work with the Muppets," Clash said in the film.
Now that dream has turned into a nightmare.
Clash, Elmo's puppeteer and voice, has resigned from "Sesame Street" in the wake of allegations that he had sex with not one but two teenage boys.
"I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart," Clash said in a statement of FoxNews.com. "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer."
In early November, a man accused Clash, 52, of having sex with him when he was 16, a charge Clash denied. The man recanted his underage sex claim, but then recanted his recantation, saying he had been pressured into it.
Then on Tuesday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York charging Clash with sexual abuse of a second youth. The lawsuit alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $5 million.
It was more than Sesame Street could stomach.
"Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, 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," the program said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
Last week, as the sex scandal unfolded, Sesame Street honchos tried to assure fans that the high-pitched Muppet was more than just the voice Clash gave him.
"Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world," Sesame Street's rep said.
In addition to his marquee role as Elmo, Clash had served as the show's senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain. He won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.
The AP contributed to this report.