kevin clash & elmo *The man who accused Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer of the “Sesame Street” character Elmo, of an underage sexual relationship, has recanted that claim, according to his his lawyer on Tuesday.

The story was first published on Monday by TMZ.

As we reported earlier, Clash has taken a leave of absence from “Sesame Street,” to challenge the allegations.

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The law firm for the accuser, whose identity has not been released, released a statement saying …

“he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”

Needless to say Kevin Clash is relieved at this latest development.

“I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”

The Sesame Workshop, the company the produces “Sesame Street,” is relieved as well.

“We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. However, the organization didn’t say when Clash would return to work.

On Monday, TMZ said that the accuser, now 24 years old, contacted Sesame Workshop last summer and claimed that, beginning at the age of 16, he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Clash.

The NY Times is reporting that officials at Sesame Workshop said that they thoroughly investigated the accusation, using outside investigators, over several months and believe it to be false. Mr. Clash’s leave was granted Sunday after it became clear that TMZ was planning to run an article about the accusation.

Clash said in a statement on Monday that the relationship “was between two consenting adults” — something that the accuser is apparently now admitting.

Harvey Levin, the head man at  TMZ – the Times notes – did not respond to a request for comment about its decision to run with the unproven allegations of underage sex.