Actor Stephen Collins denies he's a pedophile in interview

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Embattled actor Stephen Collins says he's not a pedophile and insists he has inappropriately touched a minor just once.

In an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric posted online Friday, the "7th Heaven" star described himself instead as someone suffering from "exhibitionist urges" and "big boundary issues."

Those issues prompted an encounter with one girl who was a minor in 1973, he said, when he took her hand to touch him inappropriately. He said he exposed himself to a teenage girl who was not a minor in 1982 and another in 1994.

Collins, who is being investigated by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department on molestation allegations but has not been charged with any crime, characterized his actions with the girl and the two teens as "terrible, and I regret them deeply," adding, "I'm absolutely not attracted, physically or sexually attracted, to children. I'm just not."

In response to Couric's direct question, Collins said he has never been attracted to young boys.

Collins said he's been in treatment for 20 years.

In October, TMZ released a 2012 audio recording of Collins purportedly acknowledging molesting underage girls during a marriage-counseling session with his estranged wife, actress Faye Grant. Collins said Grant recorded the session without his or the therapist's consent. Grant has said she gave police the audio only after Collins refused to seek appropriate treatment. But she has denied giving the recording to TMZ.

Within hours of TMZ posting its story, two TV networks announced they were canceling scheduled re-runs of "7th Heaven," and Collins lost roles in the upcoming film "Ted 2" and this season of the ABC series "Scandal." Collins had played a devoted family man and pastor on the wholesome drama "7th Heaven" for 11 seasons.

Los Angeles police investigated him in 2012 and reviewed their case in October but a spokeswoman said Friday there were no updates on its status. Los Angeles Sheriff's Department detectives also opened an investigation into Collins over an early 1980s incident, but as of Friday had not presented their case to prosecutors. 

Collins and Grant remain in divorce proceedings.

More from the interview was scheduled to air on ABC's "20/20" Friday night.


AP Writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this story.