A sexual abuse lawsuit against former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has been dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania. Judge Christopher Conner announced the ruling on Thursday, June 19, saying that the statue of limitations on the sexual abuse case had expired. The lawsuit was filed last year.
In response to the dismissal, Clash issued a statement via his representative, saying that he was "gratified that once again the courts have dismissed the claims against him." As quoted by Reuters, Clash's spokesperson Nicholas Peters added, "We believe we are finally at the point as a team where we can begin to turn our full attention to restoring Kevin's personal and professional reputation over the coming weeks and months so he may regain his rightful place as an accomplished and respected artist."
The sex abuse lawsuit was filed by a man named Sheldon Stephens. According to Stephens, the alleged abuse started in 2004, when he was 16, after they met at a networking event for models and actors. Clash denied the accusations. He later resigned from his position on "Sesame Street", saying that "personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer."
The suit by Stephens is the last sex abuse case which hit Clash. Previously, three other men Cecil Singleton, Kevin Kiadii and an unnamed John Doe filed lawsuits against Clash, accusing him of similar conducts. Last year, the lawsuits were also dismissed by a New York judge because they were filed more than 6 years of the alleged incidents and each plaintiff had reached the age of 18 for more than three years when they filed the lawsuits.