In October, a recording allegedly of Collins confessing to child molestation during a therapy session with his estranged wife Faye Collins was released by TMZ.
"Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret," he tells People in a 1,000-word statement, as read on Today. "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."
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"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," Collins explains. "As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth."
He goes on to describe one instance of inappropriate sexual contact. "I moved her hand in such a way that caused her to touch me inappropriately," Collins recalls in his statement. "It was a complete impulsive act, and it's haunted me ever since to think of what I put her through."
The 67-year-old actor says the last incident was in 1994 -- two years before joining 7th Heaven -- and that's when he realized he needed help. Collins claims he's been in therapy for 20 years, and insists that nothing inappropriate happened on the 7th Heaven set.
Collins says he has been in contact with one of the 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 says. "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."
Collins will join Katie Couric Friday for his first sit-down appearance since the scandal. The interview will stream on Yahoo Global News and will air on ABC's 20/20.
"I deeply regret the mistakes that I've made and any pain I have caused these three women," Collins says. "I admit to, apologize for and take responsibility for what I did."