Kevin Clash, the former puppeteer behind popular Sesame Street character Elmo, wants to clear his name. Or at least to have a trio of lawsuits against him dismissed.
An attorney for Clash — who resigned from Sesame Workshop last November amid multiple accusations that he'd had sex with underage males — filed papers in U.S. District Court in New York on Friday, saying that he is seeking to have three lawsuits against Clash dismissed because of the statute of limitations has expired.
The suits were filed by Cecil Singleton, and two other plaintiffs referred to as D.O. and S.M.
In a memo filed in court, Clash's attorney, Michael G. Berger, says that the codes that Clash is being sued under have two criteria for the statute of limitations; either the claims must be filed "six years after the right of action first accrues or in the case of a person under a legal disability, not later than three years after the disability."
Berger notes in the memo that being a minor would be considered a disability that would be lifted after the plaintiff turns 18. However, he claims, even under that standard, the claims fall outside the statute of limitations.
According to the memo, Singleton was born May 28, 1988 and alleges that he and Clash had relations in 2003. By that measure, the latest he could have filed under both standards would have been 2009.
Berger presents similar time breakdowns for the other two plaintiffs; by his accounting, the latest date that any of the other claims could have been filed would have been, 2006.
The three suits were filed in November and December.
Berger accuses the plaintiffs' attorney of trying to skirt the statute-of-limitations issue by applying a "connect the dots" theory, a theory that Berger calls "novel and baseless."
"This theory is based on the claim that that each of these purported 'compliant victims' somehow became 'aware' of the relationship between the alleged conduct and the alleged 'mental, psychological and emotional injury' for the first time in 2012, and that such belated awareness of the relationship and the alleged injury, and the person known to have inflicted it, somehow implicates the narrow and limited considerations in a discovery rule case."
Berger is asking that opposing counsel file its reply papers on or before April 5.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.