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Elmo puppeteer accused of underage sex with a boy

Elmo and Kevin Clash pose for photographers on the red carpet at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2011 Credit: Molly Riley / Reuters

The puppeteer of the popular children's TV character Elmo is taking a break from Sesame Street to defend himself against allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Sesame Workshop said that 52-year-old Kevin Clash, who has provided the voice for the puppet since 1984, requested a break to "protect his reputation" after a former partner made the allegations. The age of consent in New York is 17.

A company investigation into the charges found that "the allegations of underage conduct were unsubstantiated".

But in a statement they said that Mr Clash had been disciplined for "violating company policy regarding internet use".