In news that will definitely be very upsetting if it turns out to be true, TMZ claim to have come into possession of an audio recording in which Stephen Collins, star of TV series 7th Heaven, admits to a number of acts of child abuse.

They are currently hosting a copy of the audio recording on the site – you can click through to listen to it here if you so desire, although be warned, it is pretty horribly upsetting stuff.

Though it’s not quite clear how TMZ came into possession of the tape, in which a man speaks to a woman and confesses to exposing himself to several underage girls, they’re claiming that Collins’ estranged wife Faye Grant recorded it in 2012.

Collins and Grant are in the middle of what is reported to be a fairly ugly divorce. While we can’t speculate on whether or not the tape is genuine, the NYPD are reportedly conducting “an active criminal investigation” involving sexual contact with “at least three victims.”

According to TMZ, the tape was secretly recorded at a therapy session between Collins and his wife. Reportedly, recordings of this kind are legal in the state of California if they are made “to gather evidence the other person committed a violent felony.”

In this case, it would appear that abuse of a child under 14 qualifies.

In the recording, the man alleged to be Collins admits to inappropriate sexual contact with three young girls over a period of several years. Representatives for the actor have not yet commented, but according to the NYPD, the investigation is ongoing.

Collins played pastor Eric Camden in the long-running 7th Heaven, and more recently, has appeared on the shows The Fosters, Revolution and Devious Maids.

Photo: John M Heller via Getty Images