Sesame Workshop released the below statement on Tuesday after Kevin Clash, the man who voiced the character of Elmo for 28 years, resigned following accusations that he had a sexual encounter with a man when he was only 16 years old.

Read the statement:

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 wants, 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.

-Sesame Workshop