LOS ANGELES — “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins has admitted to molesting three underage girls decades ago.
“Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret,” Collins told People in a statement. “I have been working to atone for it ever since. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth.”
The molestation allegations against the actor surfaced in October when TMZ published an audio recording of Collins talking about inappropriate contact with three underage girls between 1973 and 1994. The fallout was swift for the actor known for playing the wholesome minister and patriarch of “7th Heaven.”
Collins was quickly fired from a role in the comedy “Ted 2,” and he lost a guest shot on ABC’s “Scandal.” Reruns of “7th Heaven” were also pulled from Up TV’s lineup.
The Los Angeles Police Department had previously investigated an incident involving Collins in 2012 but closed it soon afterward. In October, the LAPD again said it would investigate but legal experts said it was unlikely Collins would be prosecuted for the decades-old encounters, which according to published reports allegedly involved several incidents of the actor exposing himself to teenage girls.
“On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32 and 40 years ago,” Collins said in the statement. “The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred.”
“I have not had an impulse to act out in any such way,” in the last 20 years, he explained.
Collins added that he apologized to one of the women 15 years ago, and that she was “extraordinarily gracious,” but that he has not approached the other two after being told he could make the situation worse.
Collins is set for a confessional sit-down with Katie Couric on Friday that will stream on Yahoo and air on ABC’s “20/20.”