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New investigation opened against 7th Heaven actor after woman claims he exposed himself to her

2014-10-16 09:57

Los Angeles — Veteran television actor Stephen Collins is being investigated by Los Angeles sheriff's detectives after a woman reported the former 7th Heaven star exposed himself to her in the early 1980s.

The department on Wednesday confirmed it opened an investigation on 9 October after the woman reported the incident to authorities. The alleged victim was 13 years old when she claims Collins exposed himself to her in West Hollywood, California, in 1983.

Special Victims Unit detectives are investigating the actor for indecent exposure and whether he annoyed or molested a child, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

Collins' attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, did not immediately return phone or e-mail messages. Collins, 67, has not been charged in Los Angeles or New York.

(Photo: AP)

The woman reported the incident two days after New York police confirmed they had an open investigation into decades-old allegations that Collins molested a family acquaintance in Manhattan in the early 1970s. The revelation came after celebrity news site TMZ disclosed the investigation.

Faye Grant included allegations that her husband molested underage girls in court filings in their ongoing divorce. Collins filed to divorce his wife in 2012, and a trial to divide the pair's assets is scheduled for next month.

Within hours of TMZ posting its story, two networks announced they were canceling scheduled re-runs of 7th Heaven, and Collins lost roles in the upcoming film Ted 2 and this season of the ABC series Scandal.

Long-term pattern of sexual abuse

Grant wrote in a sworn court declaration in Los Angeles last year that her husband had disclosed he molested at least three young girls. She wrote that she reported the alleged abuse to Los Angeles police, who have said they are not actively investigating the actor.

"Stephen admitted that he has engaged in a long-term pattern of sexually abusing minor children, including sexually molesting three young girls over a decade ago," Grant wrote in the sworn declaration, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in November.

Kaplan, Collins' attorney, has declined to discuss specifics about the claims, but he has described the accusations as an attempt by Grant to obtain a more favourable settlement of the couple's divorce. The filings do not include a denial of the molestation allegations, but attack Grant's use of them as "an attempt to extort concessions in settlement" from Collins.

Grant said in a statement last week that he was not trying to obtain an undue advantage in the divorce proceedings. "This is a deeply sad situation for everyone involved," Grant wrote. "With regard to the divorce proceedings, I am seeking no more than that to which I am legally entitled under the laws of the State of California."

Collins has worked steadily in television and movie roles since the early 1970s, with appearances in movies such as All the President's Men, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and recurring roles on series such as No Ordinary Family, Revolution and Devious Maids after 7th Heaven concluded its 11-season run in 2007.

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