November 21, 2012

People & Entertainment
Elmo puppeteer quits amid accusations

From news service reports

NEW YORK – Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" on Tuesday amid allegations he sexually abused underage boys, bringing an end to a 28-year career in which he turned the furry red monster into one of the most beloved characters on TV and in toy stores.

Elmo, Kevin Flash
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Kevin Clash, who won 24 Emmy awards, says he is “deeply sorry” to be leaving “Sesame Street.” He resigned over allegations he sexually abused boys.

The Associated Press

Cecil Singleton
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Cecil Singleton

The Associated Press

Additional Photos Below

"Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work 'Sesame Street' is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer," the 52-year-old performer said in a statement. "I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."

His departure came as a 24-year-old college student, Cecil Singleton, sued Clash for more than $5 million Tuesday, accusing the actor of engaging in sexual behavior with him when he was 15. Singleton charged that Clash made a habit of trolling gay chat lines for underage boys and meeting them for sex.

It was the second such allegation in just over a week. On Nov. 12, a man in his 20s said he had sex with Clash at age 16. A day later, though, the young man recanted, saying their relationship was adult and consensual.

Clash was a young puppeteer at "Sesame Street" in the mid-1980s when he was assigned a little-used puppet now known as Elmo and turned him into a star, creating his high-pitched voice and child-like personality. Clash won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.

In a statement, Sesame Workshop said, "This is a sad day for Sesame Street."

Clash did not address the new allegations. He said previously that he had an adult and consensual relationship with the first accuser. The divorced father of a grown daughter, he acknowledged that he is gay.

At a news conference Tuesday, Singleton said he and Clash met on a gay chat line when he was 15, and for a two-week period, they had sexual contact but not intercourse. Singleton's lawyer, Jeff Herman, said he had been contacted by two other potential victims and expects additional legal action.

Son of Robert F. Kennedy acquitted in hospital case

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Douglas Kennedy, a son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was acquitted Tuesday of child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a scuffle in a hospital maternity ward.

Kennedy had tried in January to take his newborn son from Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco.

He said he just wanted the 2-day-old boy, Anthony Boru Kennedy, to get some fresh air.

However, several nurses objected, saying his request would violate hospital policy. Kennedy tried to leave anyway, and two nurses claimed he hurt them as they blocked his way.

Mount Kisco Town Judge John Donohue, who heard the case without a jury, ruled that Kennedy broke no laws. He said testimony showed that the baby was not in danger – except from the nurses' actions – and that Kennedy did not demonstrate any intent to hurt them.

Judge decides against mom in custody dispute

LOS ANGELES – A judge says teen actress Ariel Winter should remain in her sister's care for the next several weeks after determining that her mother should not regain custody of the "Modern Family" star.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas issued the ruling Tuesday. It comes more than six weeks after Winter's mother, Chrisoula Workman, was temporarily stripped of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to her daughter.

Levanas said investigators found that Winter had undergone some emotional abuse. Allegations that Workman was physically abusive to her daughter were inconclusive.

Winter has been under the care of her sister, Shanelle Gray, since early October.

A trial to determine if a permanent guardianship is necessary is scheduled for Dec. 12.

The 14-year-old plays Alex Dunphy on the hit ABC series. She has been acting since age 7.

Winter's mother has denied all accusations that she was abusive to her daughter.

 

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Ariel Winter
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Ariel Winter

The Associated Press

  


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