Sex abuse lawsuit against former Elmo puppeteer dismissed

Voice actor Kevin Clash arrives with the puppet Elmo for the 2010 Peabody Award ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in this file photo taken May 17, 2010. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Clash, the puppeteer k
Voice actor Kevin Clash arrives with the puppet Elmo for the 2010 Peabody Award ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in this file photo taken May 17, 2010. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Clash, the puppeteer known for his work as the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, of child sexual abuse. The lawsuit was filed by a man who accused Clash, 53, of engaging in a sexual relationship during visits to New York that began in 2004, when the man was 16. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit accusing MrKevin Clash, the puppeteer known for his work as the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, of child sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who accused Mr Clash, 53, of engaging in a sexual relationship during visits to New York that began in 2004, when the man was 16.

US District Judge Christopher Conner in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday, ruling it had not been filed within the statute of limitations in New York. The lawsuit was filed last year.

A judge in New York previously dismissed three other lawsuits against Mr Clash by men who accused him of sexually abusing them when they were underage. The New York judge also said the statute of limitations had run out.

Accusations against Mr Clash led to his resignation in 2012 from the job he held for 28 years as the puppeteer who brought life to Elmo, the red, furry monster featured on the international children's television series.

A spokesman said Mr Clash was "gratified that once again the courts have dismissed the claims against him".

"We believe we are finally at the point as a team where we can begin to turn our full attention to restoring Kevin's personal and professional reputation over the coming weeks and months so he may regain his rightful place as an accomplished and respected artist," said his spokesman Nicholas Peters.