Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has once again found himself in a legal standoff.
Four months after resigning from Sesame Street amid accusations that he had sex with underage boys, the 52-year old is now facing new allegations that he sexually abused and drugged a minor.
But in a curious twist, his now 24-year-old accuser is the same man who first leveled allegations against Clash. The accuser claimed the puppeteer had inappropriate sexual relationship with him when he was underage, but later recanted his statements to clarify that the two had an "adult consensual relationship." (Three other men later came forward with similar allegations.)
In a lawsuit filed Monday in a Pennsylvania Federal Court and obtained by E! News, Sheldon Stephens claims that he had a sexual relationship with Clash that began when he was 16 and continued into adulthood. Stephens alleges that he met Clash at a networking event for models and actors, and that the puppeteer reportedly promised to help him with his acting career.
The complaint states that Clash "showered Stephens with affection and attention" before the Sesame Street puppeteer supposedly "lured Sheldon to visit him in New York for sexual encounters" by making arrangements for chauffeurs to whisk him from Harrisburg, Pa., to New York City, where Clash was based.
The documents allege that Stephens also participated in a "crystal meth sex party" during which Clash's chauffeur "watched and masturbated." The plaintiff also claims that Clash smoked crystal meth and gave Stephens "poppers" during this incident.
Stephens' suit claims the purported sexual contact began when he was underage and that he did not know the actions were harmful or injurious at the time. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with reimbursement of costs and attorney fees.
In November, Stephens first made the allegations against Clash, forcing the puppeteer to confirm that he is gay while adamantly denying the accusations.
But a day later, Stephens backtracked on his claims, insisting that he wouldn't comment further on the matter.
In late November, Clash resigned his post from Sesame Street "with a very heavy heart," saying that "personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer."
Earlier this month, the puppeteer filed a motion to have the three lawsuits dismissed, citing statutes of limitations.