He became known as one of TV's most famous preachers, spreading wisdom, love and caring for everyone. The image of Stephen Collins built up over the years has cast him as almost angelic. Which is why news he allegedly molested three little girls is so shocking.
On Tuesday TMZ released a tape recording in which the 67-year-old is allegedly heard confessing to his estranged wife Faye Grant he had molested three children between the ages of 10 and 13 years old.
And in response to the incendiary news, television channels have decided to pull reruns of his most famous show 7th Heaven from their broadcasting schedules.
"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 TV President Charley Humbard said in a statement released to E! Online.
"7th Heaven has been a beloved family show and a fan-favourite on our network. We have made the decision to remove the series from our schedule effective at 5 p.m. ET today.”
According to TMZ, TV Guide channel has also chosen not to air 7th Heaven any longer, effective immediately. And TV Guide is said to be prepared to keep the programme from broadcasting on its airwaves indefinitely.
The actor first shot to fame in 1996 after starring on the show, which concluded in 2007, opposite Jessica Biel. Collins portrayed devoted family man Reverend Eric Camden in the programme and Catherine Hicks depicted his wife.
Hicks told paparazzi she’s completely shocked by news of his alleged molestation confession.
“I have no idea, I swear,” she is videotaped saying in a clip obtained by British newspaper the Daily Mail in response to what she thinks is going on in the situation, noting Collins didn’t seem suspicious while filming 7th Heaven.
“I have really nothing to say nothing to hide. I don’t know anything. Stephen’s a good guy in my opinion.”
Variety previously reported Collins has since been fired from his appearance in forthcoming feature film Ted 2 and he has also resigned from the SAG-AFTRA board in the wake of his molestation scandal.
His estranged wife Grant decided to divorce Collins in 2012 after 27 years of marriage.
In alleged legal documents obtained by TMZ which were filed this year, the actor’s former spouse discloses why she decided to leave.
"[Stephen] admitted that he had sexually molested 3 underage girls over a decade ago: At least two of these girls were molested over the course of several years,” Grant is quoted as writing in the declaration.
"[I am] sickened by Stephen's actions. I have urged Stephen multiple times to seek treatment for paedophilia, but he has refused to seek proper help or hospitalisation for the predilection toward children."
Grant has purportedly asked the judge to declare she is exempt from paying any legal or financial orders or settlements that may result from Collins’ actions, as she was unaware “of Stephen’s secret life prior to January 2012”.
The New York City Police Department confirmed a formal investigation is being launched into Collins’ molestation accusations.
The actor is father to only one child, a 25-year-old daughter named Kate who he shares with Grant.
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