Australia

Hillsong founder Brian Houston breaks silence, saying he ‘will fight’ abuse concealment charge

This story contains allegations of sexual assault and may be distressing to some readers.
In his first public comments in months, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston said he “will fight” a charge that alleges he covered up his father’s child sex offences.
In a Facebook video on Thursday, Mr Houston, who resigned from the megachurch in March, reiterated his commitment to contesting the charge of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person.
“Over 12 months ago, I was charged with a crime that I’m yet to defend and that I will fight,” he said in the video.
In January, Mr Houston stepped aside from all church activities as he vowed to fight the allegation made by police who claim he knew his father, Frank Houston, had indecently assaulted an underage male in 1970.

His father died in 2004.

Police allege Mr Houston knew of his father’s crime from September 1999 and claim he failed to report this information to them despite knowing it might help a potential prosecution.
He has pleaded not guilty.
On Thursday, it was announced three weeks had been set aside for hearings into Mr Houston’s alleged concealment of his father’s sexual offences.
The matter was mentioned in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday but he was excused from appearing.

Hearing dates have been confirmed from 2 December to 22 December.

Brian Houston’s Hillsong resignation and what he said on Facebook

Mr Houston resigned from Hillsong in March after an internal investigation, unrelated to the charge, found he engaged in inappropriate conduct “of serious concern”.
Mr Houston said he wanted to “clarify the circumstances” of his resignation.
“On March 21, 2022 … I made the hardest decision of my life, and that was to offer my resignation to the Hillsong church board after pioneering the church in 1983 and giving 39 years of service,” he said in the Facebook video.
“I guess a big part of me hoped the board, knowing the pressure I was under, would reject my offer and continue to fight for me, but that was not to be.”
Mr Houston said when he offered his resignation he had hoped he could continue to have an active role as the founding pastor of Hillsong.
Mr Houston and his wife Bobbie founded Hillsong in 1983 in Sydney’s western suburbs.
It has churches around the world.
If allegations set out in this story raise issues for you, or you or someone you know needs support – you can seek 24 hour help through 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit . In an emergency, call 000.
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