Kevin Clash, 52, the former voice and puppeteer behind Elmo on “Sesame Street” has been hit with a fifth lawsuit, this time by now 25-year-old Kevin Kiadii. According to the suit, Clash and Kiadii began a sexual relationship when the young man was 16. The age of consent in New York is 17.
According to Kiadii, he and Clash met on a gay phone chat line in 2004, and after Clash initiated contact with Kiadii, the older man invited Kiadii over to his flat. Clash sent a luxury car over to pick up Kiadii at his residence in Brooklyn. According to the lawsuit “Upon his arrival, Kevin Clash gave Kiadii alcohol and groomed him with attention and affection.”
While the sexual relationship was consensual, Kiadii claims in the lawsuit that “as a 16-year-old child, Kiadii was not emotionally or psychologically prepared for a sexual relationship with a grown man in his forties.” Kiadii is seeking undisclosed damages.
At issue will be whether or not Clash knew that Kiadii was under the age of 17. Kiadii is represented by Miami attorney Jeff Herman, the lawyer representing the other four men who have filed lawsuits against Clash.
Clash has denied the allegations, including stating that he was not aware that these men were under the age of consent at the time.
Herman did stated that “The allegations in this lawsuit follow the same pattern we’ve seen before. Each of these victims alleges that Kevin Clash was a father figure who groomed them with attention before engaging them in sexual contact. By coming forward and standing up for his 16-year-old self, Kevin Kiadii has taken the first step in his healing process.”