The former Sesame Street puppeteer made headlines in 2012 when three men came forward and alleged that he’d had inappropriate sexual contact with them as minors. Though Clash initially denied any wrongdoing, his strategy now seems to be evading punishment through the use of legal loopholes — his lawyer, Michael Berger, has filed on a statue of limitations technicality to dismiss all three lawsuits.
“There are two applicable types of statutes of limitations,” Berger told E! News. Under the first, a sex crime is no longer punishable six years after it was committed. Under the second, three years after the victim turns 18 and is “no longer under the disability of being a minor.”
Based on the ages of Clash’s accusers, they would have had to file in 2009, 2006 and 2001 to be within the six-year limit or in 2009, 2003 and 2000 to still file as minors.
The statue of limitations for sex crimes vary by state. In New York, for example, it’s measured in years, between three and five depending on the victim’s age and the date the crime was committed. Pennsylvania has a more blanket law, requiring all victims to file suit before the age of 30. Several states also have a “delayed discovery” rule where the statue of limitations can be overturned if the victim only recently became “aware” of the psychological damage done to them. This is the case in California, Florida and Virginia. Theoretically, a Virginia Beach criminal attorney could argue against a sexual abuse lawsuit a hundred years old with the powers of delayed discovery.
Jeff Herman, lawyer for all three plaintiffs in the Clash case, says he’s hopeful that the courts won’t fall for any SOL ploys. He also brought attention to Clash’s change in legal strategy.
“It should be noted his motion does not say the abuse did not happen, just that it is too late to file the complaints,” he told reporters.
Clash has yet to comment on the proposed dismissal.