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Published on Nov 15, 2012
Host @DavidBegnaud delivers breaking news and today's trending buzz in 45 seconds.
thesmokinggun.com: NOVEMBER 14--The mystery man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of engaging in an underage sexual relationship--only to recant the allegation a day later--is a struggling 24-year-old model/actor who was once arrested for the knifepoint robbery of $250,000 in jewelry from a music manager for whom he interned, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The accuser, Pennsylvania resident Sheldon Stephens, had his unsubstantiated claims against Clash published Monday on the gossip web site TMZ. The smear triggered a torrent of social media activity and press reports that portrayed Clash, 52, as a predator (the New York Post's front page headline read "Nookie Monster"). While Stephens (seen at right) has not been publicly identified, TSG yesterday learned of his identity and confirmed his role in the Clash matter with two sources, a family member and a friend. It is unclear how Stephens, who once lived in New York City, met Clash, who resides on Manhattan's West Side. A friend of Stephens said that he "attracts these high-powered men," but that the model wannabe was a "God-fearing guy" and "not just a pretty boy." In a statement released yesterday, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania law firm--which no longer represents Stephens--reported that Clash's accuser "wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." TMZ initially reported that the man claimed to have been 16 when his sexual relationship with Clash began. Shortly after the statement's release, TMZ scrambled to publish a story (citing "sources close to the situation") claiming that attorneys for Clash and the accuser were, right then, purportedly "discussing a financial settlement and 6-figures were on the table." At that point, however, Stephens was no longer being represented by Andreozzi & Associates, the Harrisburg law firm, and had no other legal representation. The issuance of the statement was done as a courtesy by Stephens's former counsel, who noted that, "He will have no further comment on the matter." The acknowledgement that the damaging claim against Clash was not true came as a relief to the producers of "Sesame Street," who, as The New York Times notes, "had been alarmed by seeing the words 'under-age sex' in the same sentence as 'Elmo.'"