HE PLAYED a fictional father and pastor on the American sitcom 7th Heaven -- now Stephen Collins appears to have confessed to being a child molester in an audio recording.
US gossip website TMZ broke the story, publishing the recording on its website.
It's understood the LAPD had previously investigated Collins but dropped the case. TMZ is reporting it has just been picked up again.
According to TMZ, Collins revealed to his then-wife Faye Grant in 2012 that he had "molested and/or exposed himself to several underage girls years before".
Grant questioned Collins for more details on his confession, which was recorded in secret.
These tapes have now been released.
In one shocking confession heard on the tape, Collins talks about molesting an 11-year-old girl, a relative of his first wife.
"There was one moment of touching where her hand, I put her hand on my penis."
He says it occurred "a couple of times" when she was 11, 12 and 13.
Collins has now lost his role in the upcoming Ted 2 film after the revelations were published.
He has also resigned his position on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild.
In Australia, 7th Heaven was usually aired in the after-school slot or on Saturday evenings -- it was never a major hit, despite running for 11 seasons.
It now airs on Eleven at 2am and 10am each day.
The series tells the story of the Camdens, a Protestant minister's family living in the fictional town of Glen Oak, California.
It was the the launchpad for Jessica Biel, who departed the show after appearing in 134 episodes.