7th Heaven actor Stephen Collins is under investigation by the NYPD due to an audio recording that features a male voice, allegedly belonging to Collins, admitting to a number of sexual crimes against young children. The recording was posted to TMZ early Tuesday morning.
TV personality and legal commentator Nancy Grace discussed the allegations with ET's Nancy O'Dell and Kevin Frazier, and weighed in on what she thinks might happen next.
"This could lead to a criminal investigation," Grace said. "Now let me remind everybody, under our law, you cannot proceed with a criminal investigation based on a confession alone, or every false confession under the stars would end up in court."
Grace went on to say that it's possible, even if the recordings are authenticated, that the actor may not ever end up facing a judge.
"I don't know that this will ever go to court," Grace said. "Because you mix TV stars with criminal court and usually nothing happens. That's the way of the world. When you're rich and famous you never end up in court. It's very rare. Could it? Yes. But they're going to have to have something more than just his confession."
"If this is him talking [on the tape], he's in a lot of trouble," Grace added.
The audio tape was allegedly recorded without the actor's knowledge during a 2012 therapy session between Collins and his estranged wife, Faye Grant.
ET also obtained a declaration from Grant, filed as part of their divorce proceedings, that claimed Collins had previously admitted that he had "engaged in a long term pattern of sexually abusing minor children, including sexually molesting three young girls over a decade ago."
Grant also claimed in the document, "I further believe that there have been other victims, but he has thus far only confessed to those three girls."
Soon after TMZ's article went live, Grant released a statement through her lawyer claiming she had no hand in releasing the tapes to TMZ. Grant said, "I woke up today to learn that an extremely private recording I handed over to the authorities in 2012 per their request in connection with a criminal investigation was recently disseminated to the press. I had no involvement whatsoever with the release of the tape to the media."
Following the release of the recordings, Collins was released from production on Seth MacFarlane's sequel Ted 2. According to Deadline, the cable network UP TV has decided to pull reruns of 7th Heaven, and Collins has elected to resign from his seat on the nation board of the Screen Actors Guild.
Neither Collins nor his representatives have commented on the recordings or subsequent accusations.