NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Actor Stephen Collins dropped out of the public eye after his recorded confession of child molestation went public in October, and now the disgraced actor has made a shocking confession.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Collins said that indeed he did touch children inappropriately.

Collins, 67, is best known for playing a minister and dad on “7th Heaven,” which ran for 11 seasons. He has appeared in numerous television shows and movies, including “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”

And in a stunning confession published Wednesday morning by People Magazine, Collins admitted that he sexually molested three underage girls between 1973 and 1994.

“Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since,” the confession began.

Collins wrote that in 1973 when he was 25, he exposed himself to a pre-teen girl and later touched her.

“When the girl and I were watching TV alone, I moved her hand in such a way that caused her to touch me inappropriately,” Collins wrote. “It was a completely impulsive act, and it’s haunted me ever since to think of what I put her through.”

People Magazine senior editor Kate Coyne said Collins has taken full responsibility for his actions.

“Now, what he wants people to know is that he is deeply remorseful, and that he’s been working for the last 20 years in constant therapy, prayer, meditations and 12-step groups to ensure that such a thing never happens again,” Coyne said.

In October, Collins’ image was tarnished, and the NYPD launched a criminal investigation, after audio surfaced online in which Collins also apparently confessed to exposing himself to three underage girls and molesting one. The audio first surfaced on the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com.

The organization claimed the recordings were secretly made in 2012 by Collins’ now ex-wife, Faye Grant, during therapy sessions. Collins and Grant were in the midst of a divorce battle when the recording was made, TMZ reported.

“The exposure happened a couple of times” over several years, Collins said in the audio clip. “She was 11 and then, like, 12 and 13.

“There was one moment of touching where her hand, I put her hand on my penis,” Collins said further in the recording. “It lasted a few seconds, and that was the last time.”

In the People Magazine confession, Collins also said the marriage counseling session in which he was heard was secretly recorded by Grant.

“The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred,” he wrote. “As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth.”

Coyne said Collins “wants to set the record straight that other than those three young girls, there has been no one else.”

The NYPD has now said Collins will not face criminal charges for the sex abuse crimes he admitted to in New York, because the statute of limitations has expired. The NYPD has been assisting the Los Angeles Police Department with its own ongoing investigation.

Collins wrote that he has apologized directly to one of his victims. He wrote that he has chosen not to approach the other two – one of them now 50 and the other in her 30s – because he said he is afraid it will only open old wounds.

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