In this paper, we propose a novel maximum causal Tsallis entropy (MCTE) framework for imitation learning which can efficiently learn a sparse multi-modal policy distribution from demonstrations. We provide the full mathematical analysis of the proposed framework. First, the optimal solution of an MCTE problem is shown to be a sparsemax distribution, whose supporting set can be adjusted. The proposed method has advantages over a softmax distribution in that it can exclude unnecessary actions by assigning zero probability. Second, we prove that an MCTE problem is equivalent to robust Bayes estimation in the sense of the Brier score. Third, we propose a maximum causal Tsallis entropy imitation learning (MCTEIL) algorithm with a sparse mixture density network (sparse MDN) by modeling mixture weights using a sparsemax distribution. In particular, we show that the causal Tsallis entropy of an MDN encourages exploration and efficient mixture utilization while Boltzmann Gibbs entropy is less effective. We validate the proposed method in two simulation studies and MCTEIL outperforms existing imitation learning methods in terms of average returns and learning multi-modal policies.