Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who voiced Sesame Street‘s Elmo for 28 years, has been cleared of three sexual abuse charges. An appeals court has dismissed the lawsuits.
In 2012, Clash was accused of abusing multiple men when they were minors, more than 10 years earlier. Clash, 53, resigned from Sesame Street amid the allegations filed against him in several lawsuits. He denied any wrongdoing.
Now the U.S. Court of Appeals has thrown out three cases against Clash, agreeing with a New York judge’s 2013 decision that the claims were made too late.
“The case was dismissed because of the statute of limitations. There is no ruling on the merits,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jeff Herman, told People.
Clash’s first accuser, Sheldon Stephens, is still seeking legal action. The 25-year-old claimed Clash sexually abused him when he was 16, but soon recanted his statement, saying his “sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” After the other alleged victims came forward, Stephens filed a suit against Clash in Pennsylvania.