Hillsong Church founder charged with hiding dad’s sex crimes

An ongoing investigation into Hillsong Church founder Pastor Brian Houston has resulted in him being charged with concealing youngster sex offenses dedicated by his late father Frank Houston.

The crimes — and ensuing alleged coverup — involving a 7-year-old boy occurred between 1969 and 1970, and had been later revealed to Frank’s son in 1999, according to Brian’s own shocking admission in a e-newsletter despatched to his congregation over Christmas.

Authorities in New South Wales, Australia subpoenaed the 67-year-old reverend by the use of his legal professional on Thursday afternoon, The Australian has reported.

In a press release obtained by The Post, Pastor Houston acknowledged, “These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter. I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

On behalf of Houston, a spokesperson for Hillsong additionally instructed The Post they had been “disappointed” by the fees, which carry a most sentence of as much as 5 years behind bars.

It’s the fruits of a seven-years-long investigation by Hills District police in Sydney, the place Hillsong first opened its doorways in 1999 after merging with Frank Houston’s authentic mega-church endeavor, the Sydney Christian Life Centre, which he based within the ’80s.

Officials for Sydney’s Royal Commission on Institutional Leaders Handling of Sexual Abuses instructed native shops, “Police will allege in court the man 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.”

televangelist Frank Houston
The late televangelist Frank Houston rose to prominence as pastor for the Assemblies of God in New Zealand and Australia earlier than founding the Sydney Christian Life Centre, which might finally evolve into Hillsong Church in 1999.
Getty Images

Reps for Hillsong elaborated on their response to the fees: “We are disappointed that Pastor Brian has been charged, and ask that he be afforded the presumption of innocence and due process as is his right. He has advised us that he will defend this and looks forward to clearing his name. 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.”

In 1999, Brian, then president of evangelical group the Assemblies of God in Australia, confronted his father — information of which ended Frank’s profession in ministry.

Brian Houston leaving a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings in Sydney
Brian Houston and his father launched Hillsong Church in 1999. In 2014, investigators accused Houston, seen right here leaving a court docket listening to in Sydney, of covering-up father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses.
AP

Yet when given the chance to assist regulation enforcement, neither Brian nor Hillsong’s nationwide government turned over proof regarding the crimes of his father, who died at 82 in 2004.

Frank’s sufferer, who beforehand stated he was “raped, choked and brutalized,” claims the late churchman had tried to bribe him with $10,000 (AUD) — through hand-scrawled contract on a McDonald’s serviette. The payoff was allegedly despatched as a examine within the mail from Brian himself, after Frank apparently failed to finish the agreed transaction, in keeping with The Daily Mail.

According to Brian, his father’s sufferer insisted his abuses not be made public or delivered to regulation enforcement.

The disgraced religion chief averted prices in his lifetime, regardless of confessing to a “continuing problem” of sexual curiosity in younger boys.

Pastor Carl Lentz with Justin Bieber
Despite his father’s crimes, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston had no misgivings about firing Pastor Carl Lentz, seen right here with Justin Bieber in 2017, within the wake of his adultery scandal final 12 months.
Getty Images

Hillsong Church operates in 28 international locations worldwide, together with the US the place their incessantly star-studded congregation consists of the likes of Justin Bieber, Chris Pratt and Kylie Jenner.

Last 12 months, Hillsong infamously ousted popular Hillsong preacher Carl Lentz, 42, who led the church’s Manhattan fellowship, after his marriage infidelities were revealed. Brian Houston later appeared on NBC’s “Today” in May 2021 to debate the embattled Lentz.

“I think there’s a lot of things I should’ve known earlier, and hopefully, moving forward, we’ll make sure we have far better systems in place and better accountability,” Houston said at the time,

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