While being interviewed by Katie Couric of Yahoo! Global News on Friday, Stephen Collins claimed to have been a victim of sexual abuse himself, saying that when he was a boy, an older woman exposed herself repeatedly to him. The Seventh Heaven actor believes the improper sexual behavior might be partially responsible for his own inappropriate sexual conduct towards children as an adult.
Collins had previously confessed to People Magazine that the rumors of child sexual molestation surrounding him were true and that he was guilty of inappropriately touching three girls over 20 years ago. Collins said his victims, to whom he offered apologies, were 10, 13 and 14 years of age and that he had committed the sexual misconduct due to a critical “need for attention.”
Collins told Couric that the sexual advances by the woman occurred from the time he was 10 until he turned 15. He made it clear that he was not attempting to excuse his own inappropriate sexual behavior by bringing up the abuse he suffered as a boy. In his mind, because he trusted the woman who was exposing herself to him, he never considered that he was being molested or abused. Describing the experience as “intense,” he believes that his childhood brain did not register it as being bad, because the “person who I trust [was] doing it.”
The woman, who Collins did not name, allowed the young boy to see her nude or partially nude “quite a few times.” The actor, who played Eric Camden on the popular TV series, made it clear that he is not “blaming” the woman for the inappropriate sexual conduct he had with young girls as an adult, but allowed that it had an effect by distorting his thoughts when he was young.
In addition to offering apologies to his victims, Collins also told the fans of the show Seventh Heaven that he was sorry for disappointing them by his actions and reminded them that the incidents of molestation happened before his involvement with the show. He appealed to the fans to look to his time on the show as an entirely distinct section of his life, apart from the inappropriate sexual conduct.
Couric asked Collins if he believed himself to be a pedophile. The disgraced actor strongly denied the allegation, saying that, “I do not fit either the clinical or dictionary definition of it.” He also declared that he was not now nor had he ever been sexually or physically attracted to young girls, and explained his actions as giving in to “exhibitionist urges” due to “boundary issues” he had when he was younger.
The actor also said that he had spoken with a therapist, who had told him that if were truly attracted to young children, there would have been more frequent instances of sexual misconduct with them. Collins says the three cases of abuse occurred in 1973, 1982 and 1994. He claims that since the 1994 incident, he has felt no other urge towards young children.
Allegations involving Collins sexually abusing young girls surfaced in 2012, resulting in New York and Los Angeles police investigations. Earlier this year, a recording of a man said to be Collins in which he confesses to sexually molesting three young girls was released, causing the police investigations to become public as well. Police in New York say that the statute of limitations for the allegations they were investigating has passed. The LAPD reviewed the case again after the recording became public, but has turned over its investigation to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
By Jennifer Pfalz