Stephen Collins, who starred as the pastor patriarch on 7th Heaven, is under investigation after he reportedly confessed to exposing himself to and molesting at least three young girls over several years, police confirm to TVGuide.com.
In an audio recording obtained by TMZ, a man believed to be Collins admits to the incidents during a therapy session in 2012 with his estranged wife, Faye Grant, with whom he's still in the process of a contentious and drawn-out divorce. According to TMZ, Grant secretly recorded the conversation after her lawyer advised her that it was legal in California to do so in order to gather evidence that the person committed a violent felony.
In the tape, Collins admits to molesting a relative of his first wife, Marjorie Weinman, "a couple of times" when she was 11, 12 and 13. "When you exposed yourself ... did you have an erection?" Grant asks. "No, I mean... no? Partial, maybe. I think," Collins says.
"There was one moment of touching where her hand I put her hand on my penis," adds the actor.
The actor goes on to confess to molesting two other girls, including one who was the niece of a neighbor. "She is someone I actually saw about 12 or 15 years ago I made an amends to," Collins says.
"There is a formal complaint on file and the incident is being investigated by the Manhattan Special Victims Squad," Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster of the New York Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.
According to TMZ, the NYPD is in possession of the tape, and on Wednesday, two detectives flew to Los Angeles to interview Grant. One of the alleged victims — the relative of Collins' first wife — reported the molestation in 2012, which prompted the disclosure Collins refers to in the tape and the therapy session. Even though its been decades since the molestation, a police source tells TMZ that it's likely the case can still be prosecuted since the statute of limitations runs from the date of reporting.
As the investigation into Collins continues, UP TV, a cable network that regularly airs reruns of 7th Heaven, has pulled the popular family drama from its lineup, TVLine.com reports. "As a top family-friendly network, we are deeply concerned for the families that are potentially affected by these disturbing allegations surrounding actor Stephen Collins," UP CEO Charley Humbard said in a statement.
"7th Heaven has been a beloved family show and a fan-favorite on our network. We have made the decision to remove the series from our schedule effective at 5 p.m. ET today. We will continue to monitor the situation and listen carefully to our viewers. Replacing 7th Heaven tonight will be Supernanny, a series dedicated to bringing families together."
TV Guide Network has also pulled the only two episodes of 7th Heaven that were scheduled to air.
Collins was scheduled to appear in Seth MacFarlane's upcoming sequel Ted 2, but Entertainment Weekly reports that he has been fired from the film in the wake of these admissions. Collins' role had not been announced, but sources tell EW it was small enough that his removal from the movie will be seamless.
Collins has not yet publicly commented on the report, however he did resign from his position on the board of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union on Tuesday, TVGuide.com has confirmed.