Excerpted from NY POST
It’s a sunny day for ex-“Sesame Street” puppeteer Kevin Clash after a judge tossed three suits filed by young men who claim they suffered psychological damage from having sex him when they were underage.
In a ruling filed this morning, Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl said that the men, all in their 20s, waited too long to sue the longtime voice of “Elmo” under a statute of limitations that requires legal action within “six years after the cause of action accrues, or three years after the plaintiff turns 21, which ever is longer.”
All three suits — which Koeltl noted contain “nearly identical” language — were filed between eight and 16 years after the men say they had sex with Clash while in their teens.Clash resigned in disgrace after the first suit was filed last year, but the scandal didn’t stop him from winning three Daytime Emmy Awards last month, including outstanding performer in a children’s series.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Jeff Herman vowed to appeal, calling the statute of limitations “an arbitrary timeline that silences victims.”
“We believe that the victims in this case are within the statute of limitations, but this ruling highlights the need for a window in New York to allow victims to have their day in court,” Herman said.
Cecil Singleton, 25, of Harlem, said he wished he could have spoken to Koeltl personally to explain why he waited so long after his relationship with Clash, which he says began at age 15 when they met on a gay telephone chat line.
“Until I knew Kevin had a fetish for underage men, it never occurred to me that I was a victim,” Singleton said.
“I thought our relationship was something different. I thought he saw me as something special.”
A similar suit filed by a fourth accuser who lives in Pennsylvania remains pending in federal court in Harrisburg, Penn., where Clash has filed a motion to transfer the case to New York.
That suit — which includes lurid allegations that Clash had a three-way “crystal meth sex party” with his chauffeur and accuser Sheldon Stephens — also appears to have exceeded the statute of limitations, as it was filed nine years after the fact, and almost four years after Stephens turned 21.
Clash’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a request for comment.