Kevin Clash, the voice behind Sesame Street’s Elmo, has taken a leave of absence from the venerable children’s show after allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy surfaced, according to TMZ. The boy, now 23, is claiming that the relationship began seven years ago, but Clash is claiming that the relationship took place after the boy had become an adult, which would be 18 or older.

Sesame Workshop executives told the site, "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."

In the meantime, the accuser has hired Andreozzi and Associates to represent him during this matter. This is the same firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky case, so you know he means business. Andreozzi wrote a letter to Sesame Workshop saying the company tried to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters," adding, "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."

As all of this gets sorted out, we’re sure many of you are wondering about the future of Elmo. Well the Sesame Workplace told TMZ, "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world."

Whether Clash will ever voice him again is unknown at this time.

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[via TMZ]