Cecil Singleton is seeking $5 million in damages and claiming emotional and psychological abuse
An attorney for the man behind a $5 million sexual abuse lawsuit against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash told TheWrap on Tuesday that he has been contacted by others who claim to be victims of the "Sesame Street" actor.
Jeff Herman, a lawyer for plaintiff Cecil Singleton, said he is looking into the possibility of filing other civil cases against Clash.
"The biggest thing Cecil feels is guilt," Herman said. "He always has known the relationship was inappropriate, but now he believes and is concerned that there are a lot of other boys who were abused."
Singleton claims that he met Clash in a telephone chat room and began a sexual relationship with the performer when he was 15, according to court filings obtained by TheWrap.
Clash is now 53 years old. Singleton claims their sexual relationship began in 2003. He is the second person to allege that Clash sexually abused him while they were underage, although the first accuser, Sheldon Stephens, recanted within a day of going public with his charges.
In an interview with TheWrap, Herman said he was uncertain that those initial accusations were behind Clash, despite the public recantation.
"Let's wait until all the facts are known," he said.
A call to Andreozzi & Associates, the first accuser's law firm, was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for Clash did not respond to multiple emails and calls requesting comment.
Clash resigned from Sesame Workshop on Tuesday after 28 years at the company. Calling it a "sad day for Sesame Street," the children's entertainment company said he decided to leave because the allegations had become a "distraction."
Singleton's suit was filed in New York federal court on Tuesday and alleges that Clash frequented gay chat rooms with the intent of persuading underage boys to have sexual relations with him. It further claims that Clash won Singleton's trust by taking him to "nice" dinners and giving him money.
In a press conference Tuesday, Singleton said that the encounters consisted of "groping, masturbation, and just a lot of intense kissing, touching, that kind of thing. Dry humping." He said they had sex only after he was an adult.
Singleton is seeking $5 million in damages and attorney fees, claiming he is suffering from psychological, mental and emotional trauma from his encounters with Clash.
When asked why his client did not simply contact the police instead of filing a multimillion suit, Herman said that Singleton has contacted authorities who are investigating the charges. He added that he was uncertain if statutes of limitations would prevent those allegations from being criminally prosecuted.
Herman said Singleton did not realize the extent of his abuse until the initial allegations against Clash became public.
"Cecil never considered himself to be a victim, because he was compliant in the relationship, but of course a 15 year old can not give consent," Herman said. "The premise of this case is that adults should not have sex with a minor."
Herman rejected any claims that his client is only interested in money or publicity.
"He’s aware of and fully expected there to be a backlash," Herman said. "That kind of talk is one of the reasons that victims don't come forward to expose the truth. It's a brave man like Cecil who makes it safe for victims to go public about their abusers."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.