Kevin Clash Reportedly Paid His Accuser $125,000 To Recant His Sexual Abuse Accusations

The Plot Thickens
Celebrities attend the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC.

We’ve been following this story since it broke and it seems like every day there are new developments and new versions of the story leaking out. Kevin Clash, the voice of Sesame Street‘s Elmo, was accused of sex with a minor, although he maintained his innocence. He admitted to having a relationship with Sheldon Stephens (now 23) when the young man was only 16, but insisted that the relationship did not get sexual until Stephens was of age. We saw some evidence that might have suggested this was true– those e-mails that were only sent when Stephens was 21. But when Stephens‘s lawyers came forward a few days later and recanted the whole story, people suggested a possible settlement was involved (or that Stephens straight up lied). We also learned about Stephens‘s sketchy, criminal past, which raised some eyebrows. Well now it’s being reported that Stephens did, indeed, receive $125,000 in a settlement, which required him to recant all previous accusations. Click inside to learn more.

TMZ has the report:

Kevin Clash — the voice of Elmo — agreed to pay his accuser $125,000, with one string attached — that the accuser recant his story that Clash had sex with him when he was a minor … TMZ has learned.

TMZ broke the story … Sheldon Stephens alleged he was only 16 when Clash began a sexual affair with him. Clash has acknowledged an affair, but insists it started when Stephens — now 23 — was an adult.

Multiple sources tell TMZ … hours before Stephens recanted his underage sex allegation, a settlement was struck between the two parties. Under the terms of the settlement, Clash agreed to pay Stephens 125k. But the settlement then provides the following:

“Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement … ‘He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.’”

The settlement document goes on to say if Stephens is asked by anyone about his relationship with Clash, he must only repeat the statement [above] in the settlement that recants his story.

We’ve learned although Stephens signed the document, he continues to insist Clash had sex with him when he was a minor and was pressured into signing the settlement.

One source privy to the negotiations tells TMZ … Stephens was crying during final negotiations and repeatedly insisted he didn’t want to sign.

Honestly… this story is getting more and more difficult to follow. Or at least, it’s difficult to judge the situation. A lot of you have weighed in and made really strong points that have stuck with me. PITNBR Krissy noted that criminals [i.e. Stephens] can be abuse victims, and innocent people [i.e. Clash] can make payouts because that is the easiest and quickest way for false allegations to go away. That makes a lot of sense, as does a point that PITNBR Matthew made– that Stephens went to Sesame Street lawyers rather than the police about this, and with all the recanting and the fact that he is an aspiring model, he put himself in a tough spot for people who might want to hear his version of the story.

So for now, I’m just gonna put the information out there. I really don’t think we’ll ever know the full story. Now that we have more info about the alleged settlement, does this change your perspective at all?

[Source] [Photo Credit: Splash News]

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  1. Megan

    What a mess.

  2. ck1

    Only $125k? That’s interesting.

    I don’t know… I kinda wish it would just go away, too. I’m tired of hearing about it, and feeling like no one is who they seem these days :/

  3. just the fact he went away for 125K makes it seem to me like it was a scam. I mean, if It were ME and I was in the same situation…..and I bothered to go public……it wouldn’t be a measly 125K. Just saying. This whole thing is bizzare, and now no one will ever look at Elmo the same, no matter what the outcome. What a sad, sad situation for all involved. :(

  4. Anne

    If someone is willing to shut up for money, they are not worthy of us even trying to believe their story.

  5. If this happened 7 years ago, why would Stephens wait until now to say something? I think he was wanting a payout of some kind and found a way to get one.

    I could be completely wrong, I’m just not getting a vibe that Clash is guilty. I think a guilty person would have tried to cover the whole thing up. Clash is not denying anything but that Stephens wasn’t a minor. If Kevin was going to lie, why not lie about the whole thing to try and save face then pay him off?

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