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Stephen Collins plays pedophile priest in latest film role

Talk about bad timing -- a new short film stars Stephen Collins in a role that, given the recent news about him, has many cringing.

Collins, who is being investigated for child molestation, plays a pedophile priest in "Penance," which was made last year and is now making the festival rounds.

Directed by Emmy winner Jeff Wolfe, the short stars David Lyons as a man hounded by personal demons and Collins as the priest he visits to "clear his conscience and discover exactly what it means to find forgiveness...or give it," the film's synopsis states.

In the wake of the claims against the "7th Heaven" actor following his alleged taped confession, Wolfe released a statement to People about the film and Collins' role.

"Although my short film, 'Penance,' has recently played at a number of film festivals, it was actually made in 2013," Wolfe said. "When I cast Stephen Collins, I had no idea there might be a connection between his real life and the part I asked him to play. I found the recent allegations particularly shocking, as my film is meant to speak to victims of abuse and the idea that the effects of abuse never really go away."

At WonderCon earlier this year, Collins gave an interview in which he called "Penance" a "powerful piece about a priest and a former parishioner ... it's very intense."

Collins has not been seen since the tape of his alleged confession surfaced online on Oct. 7.

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