NEW: Collins' estranged wife: I had nothing to do with the release of a recording to the media
Collins, 67, starred in "7th Heaven" as the patriarch of the central family
In court papers, an estranged wife claims Collins told her he had molested three girls
Collins' legal response says the claims are attempted extortion in a divorce
Police in New York are aware of child molestation allegations by a former relative against actor Stephen Collins, but due to the statute of limitations, he cannot face charges in that case, a senior law enforcement official told CNN on Tuesday evening.
The woman, a relative of Collins’ first wife, went to police in November 2012 and told them she was sexually assaulted by Collins when she was 14 years old while inside his Greenwich Village apartment, the official said.
There are specific laws with child sexual abuse cases in New York that allow for an extension of the statute of limitations, but even with that, this case against Collins – the father figure in the television show “7th Heaven” – cannot be prosecuted, the official added.
An investigation continues to see if there might be any other women with similar allegations, the source said.
In New York, a person has five years from their 18th birthday to make an accusation of sexual abuse to authorities.
TMZ audio recording
Earlier Tuesday, celebrity gossip website TMZ released an audio recording that purports to have been recorded during a November 2012 therapy session involving Collins and his estranged second wife, Faye Grant.
CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of recording.
But Grant told E! News she had nothing to do with the release of the recording.
“I woke up today to learn that an extremely private recording I handed over to authorities in 2012 per their request in connection with a criminal investigation was recently disseminated to the press,” she told E! News. “I had no involvement whatsoever with the release of the tape to the media.”
Following the revelation, Collins, who is involved in a contentious divorce with Grant, was fired from his job on the movie “Ted 2.”
He also resigned Tuesday from his spot on the national board of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a source at the organization with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
Accusations from court documents
According to divorce documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Grant says she learned Collins had “been engaging in a long-term pattern of sexually molesting children.” She said Collins admitted to her that he molested three underage girls more than a decade prior, the court document says. Two of the girls lived in New York, one in Los Angeles, according to the divorce papers.
Neither Collins’ attorney nor his agent immediately returned any of CNN’s numerous calls. Grant’s representatives also didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Grant said in the court documents that she was unaware of Collins’ behavior until he told her in January 2012. They separated the next month, after almost 27 years of marriage.
In Collins’ legal response to the divorce filing, his lawyer doesn’t specifically address the claims made by Grant, though he does write that it “is really an attempt to extort concessions in settlement.”
The document says that the now-husband of one of the alleged victims called Grant in December 2012 and berated her for not turning Collins over to the police and threatened to sue her for Collins’ actions.
TMZ reported Collins made incriminating statements in the recording similar to the accusations in the court documents.
New York police have not commented on the existence of the recording. No charges have been filed.
A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department, Kim Royster, said there is a formal criminal complaint on file that is being handled by the Manhattan Special Victims Squad.
Police in Los Angeles said the department received information two years ago regarding allegations of criminal behavior.
The case is no longer active, LAPD spokesman Andrew Neiman said.
“No crime report was ever made and there was no verified victim,” he said. “We are reviewing that investigation to make certain that nothing was missed, and we are collaborating with New York to assist if we can. The case here has not been reopened. We are merely reviewing the case for accuracy.”
Collins played the Rev. Eric Camden on “7th Heaven,” which centered on the Camden family. It aired from 1996 to 2007.
He also appeared in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” On television he played a doctor in at least six different shows.
Recently, he has been a regular on ABC’s “Private Practice” and “Revolution.”
He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his supporting performance in “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles,” a 1987 miniseries.
According to the Internet Movie Database, he is 67.
UP TV, which airs “7th Heaven” in syndication, said it was replacing the show in its lineup, beginning Tuesday evening.
CNN’s Megan Thomas, Sara Sidner, Lindy Hall and Rachel Wells contributed to this report.