Every once in a while, a celebrity missteps and reminds us a real person lies behind each slick Hollywood persona. When the carefully crafted mask slips, the public is sometimes truly taken aback. We were initially shocked at O.J. Simpson’s murder of his wife, saddened by the recent suicide of beloved Robin Williams, and baffled by Oscar Pistorius’ shooting of his girlfriend. And now we can add actor Stephen Collins, alleged child molester, to the list of public figures who aren’t what they seem to be.
Ironically, family television aficionados know Stephen Collins, a likable actor, as Reverend Camden on the series Seventh Heaven. Going forward, however, those same viewers will likely never again watch Stephen Collins’ performance as the good hearted Camden family patriarch without measuring the actor’s hypocrisy. It’s a credit to the man’s theatrical ability that nobody suspected he was a pedophile, but it also illustrates how easily the public is fooled by charm and good looks.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Stephen Collins, Collins portrayed family man/minister Eric Camden on Seventh Heaven from 1996 to 2007 and has had several major film roles, including Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The First Wives’ Club. Most recently, Collins had roles in television’s Revolution and Scandal. Earlier this week, TMZ released an audio tape of Collins admitting to improper sexual contact with at least three young girls in the 1970s; the New York Police Department is now investigating. This story is disturbing on many levels.
First of all, if these allegations are true and actor Stephen Collins molested young girls back in the 70s, he has gone unpunished far too long. In light of his taped confession, every single word and action of his alter-ego, Reverend Camden, emerges duplicitous and downright creepy. How does a secret pedophile interact daily with child actors and convincingly portray a man of God, a father, a pillar of the community without suffering great, burdensome pangs of conscience? A naïve question to be sure, but I can’t help wondering. Secondly, what kind of twisted relationships exist in this world? Doesn’t the alleged audio confession, covertly obtained by his wife during a private joint counseling session, violate doctor/patient privilege? The man is an admitted child molester, but doesn’t he have a right to private psychological counseling? What kind of spouse, aware of her husband’s predilection for sexual encounters with children, turns the other way until she’s ready to use his illness as ammunition in a divorce proceeding? Most importantly, if these allegations are true, look what the man has done. His victims, now adults, have suffered in silence for years. He put every single child actor he worked with during his career at risk. His secret life, now revealed, has negatively impacted the lives of fellow Seventh Heaven actors; Hallmark has canceled the show, thus halting residual income. This Hollywood scandal triggers a domino effect with far reaching psychological and financial implications.
Let this be a lesson to all of us. No actor, no person, is an open book. Guard your children well.
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I firmly believe in the adage, “what goes around, comes around”. If actor Stephen Collins did, indeed, molest young girls so many years ago, it’s only right that his crime be revealed now. Though it may not be possible to prosecute such a dated crime, Stephen Collins – and anybody who abuses children – deserves punishment. When you commit evil, you will eventually be called to task. There’s another old adage (however grammatically incorrect) I believe in: “God don’t like ugly.”