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3 suits against Ex-Elmo puppeteer tossed

Three lawsuits brought by men who said former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash sexually abused them when they were underage were tossed out by a judge who said in a decision published Monday that the men waited too long to sue, The Associated Press reports.

U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl said the claims came more than six years after the men reasonably should have realized that the physical and emotional injuries they're suing over were caused by alleged encounters with Clash. The judge also noted that each man had been older than 18 for more than three years before the lawsuits were filed.

Attorneys for the men promised an appeal. Clash said through his lawyer that he hoped the ruling would help him recover personally and professionally. Clash was the man behind Elmo, the popular furry red monster, for 28 years.

One other lawsuit is pending in Pennsylvania.

Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" in November after college student Cecil Singleton sued him for more than $5 million, accusing Clash of having sex with him when he was 15.

Singleton's lawsuit was among those thrown out Monday. Koeltl also rejected lawsuits brought by Kevin Kiadii, who claimed that Clash initiated contact with him on a gay chat line in 2004 when he was 16, and a Florida resident, who remained anonymous in his lawsuit as he claimed that Clash befriended him in late 1995 or early 1996 when he was 16 or 17.

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