08/22/1997 AT 12:00 AM EDT
A Maryland man's desire to have his young daughter meet Cookie Monster crumbled when he was arrested earlier this month for allegedly kicking the furry blue character inside Pennsylvania's Sesame Street theme park, reports the Associated Press. Police said that Jennie McNelis, 21, who was dressed as the TV star, suffered bruised ribs and a cervical sprain when she was shoved to the ground, then kicked in the head and back. Lee McPhatter, 22, of Waldorf, Md., denies police allegations that he made the assault (allegedly after Cookie Monster refused to pose for a photo with 3-year-old Mina McPhatter). "People started yelling at me that I should be ashamed of myself for hitting Cookie Monster. I did not kick or punch Cookie Monster," insisted McPhatter. He added that Cookie Monster is his daughter's favorite. McPhatter, who is free on $20,000 unsecured bail following the June 9 incident, said he would fight the charges against him, which include simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.