NEW YORK—Former “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins declares he’s not a pedophile, and insists he has molested a minor on just one occasion and engaged in sexual misconduct with only three girls in all.
In an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric released Friday, the embattled actor described himself instead as someone suffering from “exhibitionist urges,” “big boundary issues” and “poor impulse control.”
Those issues prompted a physical encounter with an underage girl in 1973. He was 25, she was 10.
According to Collins, the girl had come to visit and stay with him and his first wife. After his wife had gone to sleep, he and the girl were watching TV together.
“I took her hand and moved it in such a way that she was touching me inappropriately,” he recalled. Then, after about 45 seconds, “I took her hand and moved it back. I waited a couple of minutes, because I just didn’t know what to do or say. And then I got up and left the room.” He called the incident “unthinkably wrong.”
He also said he exposed himself to a teenage girl in 1982 and another in 1994. There was no physical conduct with either of the girls, who were 12 and 13, he said.
He said he has had no such urges since 1994, and claimed that if any other women come forward claiming to be victims of sexual misconduct by him, “it would not be truthful.”
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 added he has never been attracted to young boys.
Collins said he’s been in treatment and religious counselling for 20 years, “and always will be.”
“I’m a human being with flaws,” he said. “I have dealt with them very, very strongly and committedly in my private life.”
In October, TMZ released a 2012 audio recording of Collins purportedly acknowledging molesting underage girls during a marriage-counselling 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 cancelling 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 husband, father of seven and minister 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.
Excerpts from the interview were released Friday on the Yahoo website and aired on ABC News programs.
AP Writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this story.