Ex-Elmo Star Faces New Underage Sex Claim

A third man has come forward claiming he engaged in underage sex acts with ex-Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash.

He has sued the former Sesame Street employee, saying the voice actor met him in New York after trolling gay telephone chat lines seeking underage boys for sex.

The lawsuit, seeking \$75,000 (£46,000) in damages, was filed in Manhattan federal court by a man who was identified only as John.

The Florida man says he met Mr Clash, then 40, on a chat line when he was 16 years old in 2000 and exploring modelling opportunities in New York.

The man, now 29, is the third to make claims against Mr Clash, who resigned from Sesame Street last week after 28 years.

A spokeswoman says Mr Clash "believes this lawsuit has no merit".

The 52-year-old ex-puppeteer, who is openly gay, has steadfastly denied claims that he was involved in sexual relationships with underage boys.

His resignation from Sesame Street came the same day Cecil Singleton filed a claim seeking more than \$5m (£3m) in damages from Mr Clash. Mr Singleton claims he met Mr Clash in a gay chat room in 1993 when he was 15.

He claims he engaged in sexual activities with Mr Clash on numerous occasions over a period of years.

Mr Clash took a leave of absence from performing his iconic role on the famed children's television show earlier this month after another man claimed the two had been involved in a sexual relationship when he was 16.

The man later recanted the accusation, saying the relationship was adult and consensual.