Stephen Collins Claims He's Not A Pedophile, Blames "Distortion in My Thinking" For Sex Abuse

Stephen Collins - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Stephen Collins - H 2014

The '7th Heaven' actor also offers further insight into his divorce battle with his wife and how audio of their therapy session became public

7th Heaven actor Stephen Collins insists he's not a pedophile and has offered more insight into his own behavior and that of his estranged wife, Faye Grant, in his interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, more of which debuted online on Friday morning.

The actor, who admitted he sexually assaulted three underage girls more than 20 years ago, claims that his behavior doesn't mean he's a pedophile.

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"A pedophile is someone who is mainly or wholly attracted to children. I'm not," Collins says. "I had a distortion in my thinking where I acted out in those ways. But I'm absolutely not attracted, physically or sexually attracted to children. I'm just not.”

He went on to say, in a long explanation filled with pauses as he seemed to search for the right words, "I remember talking about this once with a therapist about this, and the therapist assuring me that these incidents were such that someone with that attraction would have acted many more times. … They were terrible and I regret them deeply, but I was not looking. I don't look at young women that way. I don't and I never did. That may sound incongruous with those actions but those actions had more to do with that distortion in my thinking and the need for attention. It was not a desire to be in any way in sexual contact with any of them. And that's why I say in 1973 when that moment took place, it was like the end. If there had been anything desirous up until then, that ended it. It stopped it. It was the opposite of excitement or gratification."

Collins also took a long pause before he responded to Couric's question about what his pathology is if he's not a pedophile.

"I think I'm someone who gave in several times to exhibitionist urges," he explains. "Someone who had real boundary issues as a young man and beyond that to an extent."

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Collins says that despite reports that he told his wife he might have had incestuous thoughts about their child, that never happened.

"That was reported from an email that she apparently sent to me. There was no email exchange," he says. "It's something that she made up. She wanted to put it out there. It too leaves me speechless."

Collins also reveals how he thinks the audio of his child-molestation confession, which he says was recorded without his consent, was leaked.

"She said, 'Here’s our settlement: You’re going to sign it now, or this recording is going to find its way into the media,' ” Collins recalls.

Read more Stephen Collins Describes Sex Abuse Incident, Calls Himself "A Flawed Person"

Collins and Grant's divorce trial has been moved to next year.

Collins also revealed to Couric that there was an older woman in his life who repeatedly exposed herself to him when he was between the ages of 10 and 15, but he stopped short of blaming her for his actions.

Additional portions of Couric's interview with Collins will air on ABC's 20/20 on Friday at 10 p.m.