A judge has ruled allegations made against former 'Elmo' puppeteer Kevin Clash cannot be taken further as the three accusers filed their claims too late. Of the five lawsuits filed against Clash, since autumn 2012, only one remains unresolved.

Kevin Clash
'Elmo' and Kevin Clash at Sesame Workshop's 8 Annual Benefit Gala, New York, 2010. 

The allegations concern Clash's involvement with three men whilst they were underage. Three separate lawsuits were dismissed by the judge who said the statute of limitations had run out on the claims. This is because it is "more than six years after each plaintiff reasonably should have become aware of the defendant's alleged violations".

However the three plaintiffs, named Cecil Singleton, Kevin Kiadii and 'S.M', have said the time period should have started from the time they realised they had been harmed and not the date on which the alleged abuse occurred. 

There are another two men involved: one who withdrew his suit in April 2013 releasing the statement "[the plaintiff] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter". 

Kevin Clash
Kevin Clash performing on the Extra show in L.A. with 'Elmo' in 2012. 

In this instance, Clash has admitted he was involved in a relationship with the plaintiff but he was of age at the time. The unnamed accuser claimed he was 16 at the time they began their physical relationship. The age of consent in New York (where the suits were filed) is 17.

The other man, Sheldon Stephens, filed a suit separately in Pennsylvania which remains unresolved. Stephens is Clash's original accuser.  

Judge John G. Koeltl ruled to dismiss the suits on Friday (28th June) but the ruling has only been made public today. 

Clash resigned from Sesame Street, after three decades of voicing Elmo, in November last year as a result of the allegations against him. His lawyer, Michael G. Berger, said "Kevin can go about the business of reclaiming his personal life and his professional standing".

Kevin Clash
Kevin Clash with 'Elmo' on the Extra show in L.A. in 2012.