UPDATE: We posted this story yesterday, and this was, in fact, the story yesterday. We see now—thanks to our amazing Facebook fans—that facts have changed and that the person who came out and accused Elmo's puppeteer Kevin Clash did, in fact, come out and retract his allegations, admitting that his sexual relationship with Clash was "adult and consensual." We are working on a full update for our readers and Elmo fans. 

UPDATE, again: Follow-up post

The voice behind Elmo, Sesame Street's favourite red fluff ball, is embroiled in a sex scandal that has shocked the children's programme.

Following accusations that he had sexual relations with a 16-year-old boy, Kevin Clash has been ousted from his 28-year stint as the voice for Elmo.

"I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter," 52-year-old Clash told People Magazine

It's not clear why the 23-year-old accuser is only now coming forward with the allegations of abuse. Clash did not deny the relationship, which he insists was legal and consensual, though he was in his forties at the time. 

For now Clash has been given a leave of absence by the children's show while he prepares his defense. Officials for Sesame Street stand by its employee, claiming no evidence has been produced to support the claims. They also insist that Elmo is more than the product of one person, and the character will live on.

According to an article on Gawker, the accuser is being represented by Andreozzi and Associates, the firm which also represented a victim of Jerry Sandusky's.

Sesame, claims Andreozzi, is attempting to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters. This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."

Do children's show actors seem more wholesome because of the characters they play?