NEW YORK (AP) — A man who initially recanted sex abuse allegations against the former puppeteer of the "Sesame Street" character Elmo has sued him, alleging the entertainer lured him into drug-fueled sex when he was 16.
"I was taken advantage of by someone a lot older, and manipulated," Sheldon Stephens, who's now 24, told a Manhattan news conference on Tuesday.
He said he had met puppeteer Kevin Clash at a networking event for models and actors, and was later brought by limousine from his home in Pennsylvania to a New York apartment. There, Stephens said, Clash smoked crystal meth while giving the teenager another recreational drug.
In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Pennsylvania, Stephens accused the 52-year-old Clash of sexual battery for childhood sexual abuse; travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; and coercion and enticement to sexual activity. Stephens is asking for unspecified damages and coverage of his legal expenses.
Clash's attorney, Michael Berger, said in a statement Tuesday that his client denies any wrongdoing. He said Stephens already admitted he had had an adult consensual relationship with Clash.