Actor who played pastor in US TV drama accused of child molestation

(Photo: REUTERS / Fred Prouser)Actors Stephen Collins from "7th Heaven" (L) and Dick Van Dyke of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" chat as they arrive for "A Father's Day Salute to TV Dads" hosted by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2009.

Fans of American family TV drama series 7th Heaven are heartbroken after lead actor Stephen Collins reportedly confessed to child molestation.

For more than 10 years Stephen Collins played the role of Rev. Eric Camden, a town pastor and a dedicated father to his children.

But the television role is far from real life as Collins confessed to his estranged wife, actress Faye Grant that he molested at least three young girls in the past.

Grant secretly recorded Collins' confession during a therapy session.

TMZ has obtained an audio recording of Collins' confession, the tape which is now in the possession of the New York Police Department.

On the tape, Collins is heard saying that he molested an 11-year-old relative of his first wife, Marjorie Weinman, several times.

"There was one moment of touching where her hand, I put her hand on my penis," Collins admits. He also acknowledges that he exposed himself to the girl "a couple of times" when she was 11, 12, and 13.

Grant then inquired about other girls and Collins mentioned an L.A. girl who lived in their neighborhood, and a girl from New York who was between 12 and 13 at the time.

Last Wednesday, New York Police Department detectives from the Special Victims Unit flew to Los Angeles to interview Grant.

They revealed that there is a current investigation as there are "at least 3 victims" in the case.

Fans were devastated at the news and expressed their thoughts on social media.

One twitter user said that she is disappointed at Rev. Eric Camden for confessing to child molestation accusations and that her childhood is forever tainted.

Another fan said that 7th Heaven will never be the same because of the scandal.

Aside from the role in 7th Heaven, Collins is part of the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild.

He frequently interacts with young actresses and was also on the ABC Family show "The Fosters," a series on young kids raised in a foster family.

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