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Kevin Clash with Elmo (Getty)

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street,” has officially resigned following allegations from a man who filed a lawsuit accusing him of engaging in an underage sexual relationship.

The lawsuit was filed today (November 20), just one week after another accuser recanted his claim that Clash, 52, engaged him in underage sex.

“I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart,” Clash said in a written statement Tuesday. “I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

Sesame Workshop released the following statement:

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.

Clash has been the voice of Elmo since 1984 and has won several Emmy Awards for his work. He was also Sesame Street’s senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain.

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