Hillsong founder charged: concealing historic child sex abuse

founder brian houston hillsong congregation hillsong founder historic child sex abuse brian houston
Image: Brian Houston Facebook

NSW Police today charged Hillsong founder Brian Houston with concealing historic child sex abuse by his father. The police charges follow a two-year police investigation.

The charges related to allegations Houston failed to report information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s.

Houston’s father Frank Houston faced multiple allegations of historic child sex abuse towards the end of his life.

After reviewing a police brief, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions advised police to proceed with the case. Police then served a court attendance notice on Houston’s lawyers.

Frank Houston

Houston’s father Frank was superintendent of the NZ Assemblies of God until the early 1970s. He moved to Australia in 1977 and founded the Sydney Christian Life Centre. More than twenty other Christian Life Centres opened in the following years. In 1999, the centres merged to become the Hillsong Church.

In 1999, Brian Houston, then head of the Assemblies of God in Australia, heard reports that his father previously abused young boys. Houston dismissed his father, asking him to quietly resign with a pension.

Internal church investigations later uncovered additional cases of historic child sex abuse. Despite a legal obligation to do so, Brian Houston failed to report the crimes.

Australia’s 2015 Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse heard that Frank Houston abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand.

Brian Houston told the Royal Commission that his father had confessed in 1999, but that he had not informed the police.

Denying wrongdoing, Houston told the royal commission he thought the victim old enough in 1999 to make up his own mind about whether to report the matter to police.

Today, Houston, who is currently overseas, said he was shocked by the charges.

“I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously described Brian Houston as one of the three church figures who most shaped his Christian faith. In 2020, Morrison confirmed he previously sought an invitation for Houston to a White House dinner with Donald Trump. However, the White House did not extend an invitation to the Hillsong founder.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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  1. Peter Turner
    12 August 2021

    Why should Hillsong be any different to the vast majority of religions who protected, and therefore sanctioned, childhood sexual abuse by paedophile clergy?

    I believe that the tax exempt status of ANY religion should be revoked. People are free to worship as they see fit but the rest of us shouldn’t be subsidizing their excesses.

    Hillsong board members live in luxury homes around the World worth over $33Million. Christian? I DON’T think so!!!

  2. Carl Scott
    13 August 2021

    Also, you might want to point out that Scott Morrison personally granted Houston an exemption to travel to America DURING COVID knowing full well that he was under investigation and was trying to escape the prosecution’s reach. He is now living in Mexico.
    Literal Trump level corruption.

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