Hillsong founder Brian Houston charged with concealing dad's alleged child sex abuse

Aug 6th

Hillsong pastor Brian Houston was charged on Thursday for allegedly concealing his late father Frank Houston's alleged sexual abuse of a 7-year-old boy in 1969 and 1970.

New South Wales police said Brian Houston "knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police."

"These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I've always been about this matter," Brian Houston said. "I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight."

Hillsong leadership also said it is "disappointed that Pastor Brian has been charged."

"He has advised us that he will defend this and looks forward to clearing his name," Hillsong leadership said. "Given that this matter is now before the court, neither Pastor Brian or Hillsong Church will be making further statements. We thank all who are a part of our church for their support and prayers at this time."

Brian Houston is set to appear in court on Oct. 5.

Police commenced an investigation into Brian Houston's alleged concealment in 2019 after reports of the case were published.

Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse published a 125-page report in 2014. Section 2 of the report covers the Frank Houston case.

Australia's government alleges Brian Houston learned about the abuse in 1999 and "confronted his father, who confessed to the abuse."

"I confronted him. He went extremely dry in the mouth and said, β€˜Yes, these things did happen,'" Brian Houston said, according to transcripts.

The report also said Brian Houston held a meeting with church leadership and suspended Frank Houston from preaching but did not tell the police.

The report also alleges Hillsong leadership did not follow its policy for reporting and investigating abuse allegations at the time, which required interviewing alleged victim(s) and perpetrator(s) of a case.

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