The unidentified man who said longtime Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash had a sexual relationship with him while he was underage has taken back his story. Through a release from his Pennsylvania law firm, the man said today that his relationship with Clash, was both adult and consensual. The revelation comes a day after Clash, who has voiced and operated Sesame Street‘s signature monster Elmo for 27 years, was granted a leave of absence by the show’s producer Sesame Workshop when the allegations came to light. Sesame Workshop said it was approached by a 23-year-old man in June who alleged that he had a relationship with Clash beginning when he was 16. The company met with the accuser twice and also met with Clash, who denied the accusation. “We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated,” the company said yesterday. Sesame Workshop said it granted the leave so Clash could “protect his reputation” against what he described as “false and defamatory” accusations. Today, Clash issued a statement  saying he is “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest.” There was no indication of when Clash would return to the show, his home since 1984.

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