A former boyfriend of the disgraced former longtime voice and puppeteer behind Sesame Street's iconic "Elmo" has come to his defense. Clash faces three allegations of underage sex and resigned from Sesame Street last month.
Jason Murray, a 29-year-old teacher who dated Clash in 2004, exclusively tells E! News. "Yes, he had an affinity for younger men, but what successful [straight] man doesn’t have an affinity for younger women? It’s the same thing, gay or not." ...
Murray, who says he was 21 when he met Clash at a gay club in Manhattan, told us that, while he is no longer in contact with his ex, he's happy to defend him. "Does he prey on these guys? In my heart I don't believe that," Murray says, reiterating his opinion that liking younger men in general doesn't make Clash a bad guy. "I think it's like Hugh Hefner, he dates younger women," he says. "Kevin likes younger guys." But, "I am reading the news and all the negative stuff. I don't see it. He had a good heart."
Clash is facing two federal lawsuits from men who say that clash preyed on them when they were underage. Clash apparently has settled a third action.
The most recent case was filed on November 26. Clash was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old in 2000. The 52-year-old Clash was about 40-years-old at the time. That plaintiff claims Clash used alcohol to "groom" him into "digital penetration".
Clash's resignation from Sesame Street was in response to a second accuser who also filed a federal lawsuit in New York City. Cecil Singleton alleges that he was only 15-years-old when Clash began their sexual relationship almost a decade ago. Attorney Jeff Herman is representing Singleton and the latest and unnamed accuser.
Clash was first accused about three weeks ago by 24-year-old Sheldon Stephens, who later recanted his allegations. Stephens then announced that the claims were indeed true and he was pressured into a financial settlement. Stephens has told his "lawyers he will gladly forfeit the $125,000 to restore his name," reports TMZ. Stephens says that he was only 16-years-old when the sexual relationship began.
Clash was one of the executive producers at Sesame Street and worked on the popular children's television series since 1981. Clash had been Elmo's voice and puppeteer since at least 1984. He won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.
A final note: "Liking younger guys" is not the issue. Having sex with underage boys when you are a well-established childrens entertainer—and offering them alcohol—is the problem. Clash apparently had sexual relations with at least three underage boys—there are probably more—and knew they were underage because at least one was offered a financial settlement to say that he was legal. This would never have made the news if Clash exercised better judgment and were hooking up with 18- and 19-year-olds that he met on Adam4Adam.
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