Third accuser claims Kevin Clash had an improper sexual relationship with an underage boy
Updated, 3:49 p.m. EST
A third accuser has emerged in the underage sex scandal engulfing Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash.
Clash, who resigned from "Sesame Street" last week, allegedly got a 16-year-old boy drunk in his New York City apartment and performed oral sex on him, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.
In a statement by his attorney, Clash struck back at the lawsuits Tuesday, vowing to clear his name.
"The federal cases filed against Kevin Clash are without merit," Michael Berger, an attorney for Clash, said in a statement. "The cases and Mr. Clash’s reputation will be defended vigorously."
Clash allegedly met his accuser, who is unnamed in the suit, on a gay phone-chat line — that's the same venue where he allegedly met his second accuser, Cecil Singleton, the man who filed a similar suit claiming he had sexual encounters with the puppeteer while under the legal age of consent.
The first accuser, Sheldon Stephens, recanted his charges almost immediately, saying their relationship was adult and consensual.
The new anonymous accuser is listed as "John" and is asking for unspecified damages. He has retained the law offices of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz and Gallet, Dreyer & Berkey, the same legal team handling Singleton's case.
Last week, attorney Jeff Herman told TheWrap that he had been contacted by other alleged victims of Clash and was planning additional suits against the puppeteer.
Clash's latest accuser is now 28 years old and claims that Clash, who was 40 at the time of their initial encounters, told him he was 30.
"At all relevant times Defendant Kevin Clash was an unmarried adult male living a prominent public life centered around the entertainment of toddlers, while at the same time he was, in secret, preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests," the suit reads.
A spokeswoman for Clash did not immediately respond to request for comment.
In addition to oral sex, the suit claims that Clash engaged in "digital penetration of John's anus." Attorneys for Clash's accuser write that the "Sesame Street" star's apartment was filled with pictures of Elmo with celebrities such as Tyra Banks and Beyoncé.
After the plaintiff moved to New York City to pursue a career in modeling, he allegedly continued to have a relationship with Clash. The two men had sexual intercourse after the plaintiff reached legal age.
Attorney's for the plaintiff claim that he waited to go public about his improper relationship with Clash because he was not "aware" that he had experienced emotional and psychological trauma.
"Although Kevin Clash's acts of inducement and enticement to sexual activity began in or about 2000, when John was a minor, he was not immediately aware of his injuries," the suit reads. "As a 16 year old child, John was not emotionally or psychologically prepared for a relationship with a grown man in his forties."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.