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UPDATE: Former "7th Heaven" TV star Stephen Collins has reportedly been axed from the upcoming Seth MacFarlane talking teddy bear sequel "Ted 2."  Collins' firing follows a shocking admission of child molestation brought to light through an audio recording posted on TMZ.  


(TMZ) - Stephen Collins -- who played the pastor/dad on "7th Heaven" -- confessed to his estranged wife he was a child molester, and it's all on tape ... a tape obtained by TMZ. And the New York Police Dept. is now conducting an active criminal investigation involving sexual contact with multiple children, TMZ reports.

According to TMZ, Collins -- who is in the middle of a nasty, prolonged divorce with actress Faye Grant -- revealed to her in 2012 he had molested and/or exposed himself to several underage girls years before. Collins and Grant went to a therapist where she peppered him with questions about the incidents ... and he not only answered, he was specific. 

Here's what Collins didn't know at the time. TMZ reports Grant taped the therapy session. According to TMZ, her lawyer advised her it was legal to secretly record the conversation because in California you're allowed to secretly record conversations to gather evidence the other person committed a violent felony ... and molesting a child under the age of 14 qualifies.


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