Stephen Collins, best known for playing the pastor father of seven children on the WB’s 7th Heaven, has been taped admitting to molesting and exposing himself to several underage girls. The graphic audio obtained by TMZ was reportedly recorded in secret during a therapy session by Collins’ wife, Faye Grant, with whom he is currently involved in a divorce battle. According to the report, Grant was advised that recording Collins’ confession was legal, in that she was using it to gather evidence of a violent felony, for which the sexual abuse of a minor qualifies.
On the tape, Collins has some trouble remembering the specifics, but he discusses at least three separate incidents in which he exposed himself to girls between the ages of 11 and 14—including one, a young relative of Grant’s, whom he forced to put her hand on his penis. That incident was reported in 2012, and is currently part of an ongoing investigation by the NYPD Special Victims Unit involving “at least three victims.” Though official charges have not been filed yet, NYPD officers have already flown to Los Angeles to interview Grant.
In the meantime, Universal moved swiftly to fire Collins from his upcoming role in Ted 2, according to Entertainment Weekly. It’s unknown whom he was meant to play in the sequel—Collins himself only teased, “I’d tell you but @SethMacFarlane would have to kill me”—but it’s believed to be a minor enough part that he can be replaced by someone not facing sexual abuse charges. Collins also resigned from the board of the Screen Actors Guild today.
UPDATE: Variety reports that cable channel UP TV has dropped reruns of 7th Heaven in the wake of these 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,” a network statement reads. “We will continue to monitor the situation and listen carefully to our viewers.”