Kevin Clash, the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, has been accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

According to celebrity website, Clash has acknowledged having sex with his accuser, now 23, but denied he was underage at the time. He has taken a leave of absence from the Sesame Street Workshop to defend himself against the allegations.

“I had a relationship with [the accuser],” the puppeteer and voice actor said. “It was two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”

A representative for Sesame Street said they were taking the claims seriously.

“In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action.”

“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world,” the rep added.