(AP) - The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on "Sesame Street" is taking a leave of absence from the popular kids' show following allegations he had a relationship with a 16 year old boy.
Sesame Workshop says puppeteer Kevin Clash denies the charges, which were first made in June by the alleged partner, who by then was 23.
In a statement issued Monday, Sesame Workshop said its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised "poor judgment" and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no other details.
At his request, Clash has been granted a leave of absence in order to "protect his reputation," Sesame Workshop says.
No duration for the leave was specified.