7th Heaven star 'molested' young girls
FOR more than a decade, he played a well-meaning Christian pastor on a family-friendly TV series, a father of seven, including three girls.
So imagine Hollywood's horror when news broke that Stephen Collins, the American actor with the clean-cut good looks who played Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven, has allegedly admitted to sexual misconduct with underage girls.
Los Angeles police on Tuesday revealed that they were reviewing a 2012 probe into the actor, in the light of an audio tape in which he allegedly admitted to molesting at least three young girls.
Collins, 67, has since been dropped from the upcoming Universal Pictures comedy Ted 2, a source with knowledge of the film production told Reuters.
He also resigned from his position on the national board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild before the end of his three-year term, the union said.
Cable network UP TV, which hosts reruns of 7th Heaven, reacted to the news by announcing that it is removing the show from its schedule in the light of what it described as "disturbing allegations surrounding Collins".
Los Angeles police spokesman Nuria Vanegas said the police were reviewing a 2012 case against Collins, although a crime report was not made at the time.
"We are reviewing the investigation to make sure nothing was missed at the time," Ms Vanegas told Reuters, saying the Los Angeles police were working with the New York Police Department.
"The case is not reopened, but we are reviewing again for accuracy."
No further details were available. Celebrity news outlet TMZ released an audio tape on Tuesday that it said revealed Collins admitting during a 2012 therapy session that he had exposed himself and molested underage girls.
"There was one moment of touching...her hand...I put her hand on my penis," he is heard to say, referring to an 11-year-old girl.
Collins' estranged wife, Faye Grant, has denied that she was involved in the release of the tape.
"I woke up today to learn that an extremely private recording I handed over to the authorities in 2012 as per their request in connection with a criminal investigation was recently disseminated to the press," she said.
Collins was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 1987 for The Two Mrs Grenvilles. His other credits include parts in 1976's All The President's Men and 2006's Blood Diamond.
His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.