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    Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash: Judge Tosses Out Three Sexual-Abuse Lawsuits

    Kevin Clash Michael Tran/Getty Images

    Time was on Kevin Clash's side.

    The embattled Elmo puppeteer scored a trio of legal victories Monday when a New York district judge dismissed three sexual-abuse lawsuits after ruling that they were all filed too late.

    The 52-year-old had been besieged by a barrage of accusations beginning last fall, all alleging that Clash had engaged in sexual acts with underage boys.

    PHOTOS: Stars get their day in court

    Citing a statute of limitations, U.S. District Court Judge John G. Koeltl tossed out lawsuits brought against Clash by three plaintiffs: Cecil Singleton, Kevin Kiadii and an unnamed John Doe.

    In his complaint, Singleton, a New York resident, claimed that he met Clash on a gay telephone chat line when he was 15 years old, and that the two "engaged in sexual activity on numerous occasions over a number of years."

    Kiadii alleged that he was 16 years old when he met Clash in 2004 on a gay chat line, and that the Sesame Street vet invited Kiadii to come over to his Manhattan apartment.

    PHOTOS: Stars who bounced back from scandal

    John Doe, meanwhile, claimed that he met Clash in Miami in the mid-'90s when he was 16 or 17, and that the Elmo puppeteer subsequently arranged to have him flown to New York City, where they purportedly had a string of sexual encounters over a four-day period.

    In a statement, the lawyer representing all three plaintiffs, Jeff Herman tells E! News: "The statute of limitations is 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. This is the first battle. We plan to appeal the decision and continue the fight to be a voice for victims." 

    Although Monday's court decision represents a sizeable victory for Clash, the beleaguered Sesame Street vet isn't fully in the clear: He is still facing one more lawsuit.

    NEWS: Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash—anatomy of a sex scandal

    That one was filed in March by 24-year-old Sheldon Stephens—who happens to be the same man who first leveled accusations of sexual abuse against Clash back in November before subsequently recanting his statements and claiming that the two had an "adult consensual relationship."

    Among several bombshell allegations, Stephens—who says he was 16 when he met Clash—now claims he participated in a "crystal meth sex party" with Clash during which the puppeteer's chauffeur "watched and masturbated."

    Shortly after Stephens' accusations went public in November, Clash resigned his post from Sesame Street, explaining that "personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer."

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