Erin Strecker
November 20, 2012 AT 04:50 PM EST

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo, has resigned from Sesame Street in the aftermath of the allegations he had a sexual relationship with a minor.

In a statement to EW, Sesame Workshop said:

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”

In addition to his work as Elmo, Clash was the subject of the documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, released in 2011.

Clash was accused last week, and a day later, the accuser recanted. According to TMZ, a second accuser has now come forward.

UPDATE: Kevin Clash has released a statement:

“I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

Read more:

Elmo accuser recants statement against puppeteer

Elmo puppeteer accused of underage relationship

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