"I didn't go to the tabloids." That's according to Sheldon Stephens, the 24-year-old Pennsylvania man who was at the center of the first underage sex scandal involving Sesame Street's Kevin Clash. Stephens was booked in a fashion editorial last week for 360 Magazine. He also took the opportunity to offer his version of the events.
The story "started off as a rumor from people in my circle," says Stephens. "These were people who were close to me who leaked the information to the press for money. That's how the [information] leaked about me being underage."
Stephens does not offer specifics on how he meet the 52-year-old voice actor and "Elmo" puppeteer. But he does admit that he usually is attracted to older men. "I can respect the work that it takes to build a career," Stephens told 360 Mag Editor/Publisher Vaughn Lowery. "I never enjoyed dating people younger."
Clash was first accused two weeks ago by Stephens, who later recanted his allegations. Stephens announced on November 19 that the claims were indeed true and he was pressured into a financial settlement. Stephens now maintains that he did have sex with Clash when he was 16-years-old
Stephens comes across as very polished. Unfortunately the interview apparently was conducted when Clash's attorneys were in damage control mode. Stephens contradicts himself twice about the "rumored" "underage" relationship ... and also praises Clash's "love" and "work" with children. "Kevin spends so much time with kids, it's really all about the kids for him!" says Stephens. Ouch.
Clash ultimately resigned from Sesame Street on November 20 after new allegations surfaced of yet another sexual relationship with an underage youth. Clash reportedly began the sexual relationship when the youth was only 15-years-old.
Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...