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".