Kyra: Kevin Clash faces a third underage sex allegation. The newest lawsuit actually filed just today.
Ryan Smith: And the third accuser is only known as John Doe. He says he had sex with Kevin Clash when he was 16, after meeting him on a chat line. Now, Doe wrote about it in his 2009 memoir. An entire chapter was full of salacious details about their alleged sexual relationship. It was titled “Tickle My Heart.” Joining me now from New York, Jeff Herman. He’s the attorney for two of the accusers, Cecil Singleton and John Doe. Jeff, thanks for joining us. And Jeff, I think, the big question is, why is John Doe coming forward now?
Jeff: Well, the reason this guy is coming forward now is because he watched what happened to the first two victims. Their veracity challenged and their honesty challenged. He thought to himself that he had a duty to come forward and shed light on the truth and really to support them. Because, in his words, the same thing happened to him.
Ryan: Jeff, I know this can be difficult for abuse victims. What a lot of people find interesting about this case is, he writes a manuscript in 2009, which the suggestion is, he would want that to be published, yet at this point he wants to keep his identity a secret. Can you tell me why that is?
Jeff: Right. Well, in 2009, he really never saw himself as a victim. And by coming forward, it wasn’t to sort of bring light to the fact that he had this relationship with Kevin Clash. In fact, he refers to Kevin Clash in his memoir as the tickler. He doesn’t even name him by name. That was intentional. But now, seeing what’s happened, he never would have come forward. But for the fact that these other two men came forward and were sort of hit in the press and some negative comments about, that he felt he needed to come forward. But seeing what they went through, he’s has it into sort of expose himself to that re-victimization. It’s why many victims just never come forward, because they see what happens to other victims.
Ryan: So he’s coming forward to have solidarity with the other victims, I think, is what you’re saying. Because, I guess why I ask is, if he didn’t think of himself as a victim, wouldn’t you then not come forward? Why would the fact that other people were criticized make you say, “Hey, I wanna step up as well”?
Jeff: Well, he realized he was a victim when the first couple of men started coming forward. He’s what we call complying victim, Meaning that they comply with the sex in terms of they’re groomed, they participate. So they never really see themselves as victims in most cases. In fact, 90% of all kids that are abused are abused by somebody they know. And so there’s this trusting relationship that’s violated. With regard to my client, once he saw the other men come forward, he realized that it wasn’t sort of an isolated incident with him, that there actually was a pattern as we allege of Kevin Clash going on and finding these teenage boys for sex.
Ryan: Okay. Now, I wanna play for you something that your other client, Cecil Singleton, told our doctor Drew the other night about what he wanted out of all this. Then I wanna ask you a question. Let’s take a look.
Cecil: It’s not about money. In fact, I’d like to make him an offer. If he would acknowledge the relationship we had when I was 15 years old, as well as apologize to any prospective victim out there and agree to never to work around minors, as well as pay my attorney’s fees, I drop the $5 million lawsuit, because frankly I don’t need his money and it’s never been about money for me.
Ryan: So the acknowledgement, plus the apology, plus the legal fees, and this goes away? Let me ask you, what do you think about that? And also, does John Doe feel the same way?
Jeff: Well, all these cases that I handle and all that I handle are representing victims of sexual abuse. It’s always about the healing. And if for Cecil, if getting an apology and those things he listed help them with the healing process, then I’m all for it, and that would be great. With regard to the case I filed today, in fact, I read a statement from him today. What he’s looking for really is validation and a statement from Kevin Clash that these men are telling the truth and that he is sorry.
Ryan: Not money? I just wanna make sure. Not money, just that validation?
Jeff: Right. Well, the only thing we can do in our civil law process is file for money damages, but that’s not really what these men are after.
Ryan: Okay. One really quick question. I’m almost out of time, but I have to ask. You mentioned at your press conference that there are other people that have contacted you and you’re vetting their cases. You’re looking to see what is in their cases against Kevin Clash. What are you looking for in their stories? Because I would think if they came to you and said, “Kevin Clash did this to me,” you would take their cases as well.
Jeff: Well, it’s just not as simple as that. I didn’t really need to vet these cases, and I look for corroboration and things like that. Without regard to these particular men, I will say just in general, when I get someone making an allegation, and this is serious business, I mean, accusing somebody of sexual abuse is obviously very serious. And before I bring that claim I need to make sure that I have a good faith belief. So we look for corroboration, we look for evidence. For example in this case that I filed today, he mentioned this memoir, and he went and pulled it out of an old drive. And I was able to see that in 2009 he was alleging these things. So that’s what I do.
Ryan: All right, Jeff Herman. And I know this is your primary practice with your law firm. This is what you do for a living. And Jeff, thank you for your time. As this case continues, also if you have other folks that have come forward as well, please stop by, and we’ll talk about that as well. Thanks, Jeff.
Jeff: Thank you.
Ryan: All right. Now, Kevin Clash’s attorney gave us this statement, “The Federal cases filed against Kevin Clash are without merit.”