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Collins admits he molested girls; will talk to Katie Couric

The sad, creepy saga of Stephen Collins took a new turn as the disgraced actor publicly confessed to molesting three young girls — more than two months after a leaked recording of the “7th Heaven” star discussing it all with his therapist went public.

The audio leak was tied to Collins’ antagonistic divorce from his wife, Faye Grant. As a result, Collins was fired from “Ted 2” and “Scandal,” plus reruns of “7th Heaven” were taken off the air, where it had been a syndication mainstay for many years.

In a lengthy statement Collins gave to People magazine, he said: “Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since. I’ve decided to address these issues publicly because two months ago, various news organizations published a recording made by my then-wife, Faye Grant, during a confidential marriage therapy session in January 2012. This session was recorded without the therapist’s or my knowledge or consent.

“On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32, and 40 years ago. The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth.”

The actor also went on to insist he has “not had an impulse to act out in any such way” in the last 20 years, and further says he has “agonized” over whether he should directly apologize to his victims. “I did have an opportunity to do so with one of the women, 15 years later. I apologized, and she was extraordinarily gracious,” he said. “But after I learned in the course of my treatment that my being direct about such matters could actually make things worse for them by opening old wounds, I have not approached the other two women, one of whom is now in her 50s and the other in her 30s.”

The sexual abuse incidents took place between 1973 and 1994. Along with Collins’ statement being featured in the new issue of People, on newsstands Friday, he also will be interviewed by Katie Couric, which will stream on Yahoo, and air on “20/20” on ABC on Friday.