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Police allege Hillsong founder concealed abuse


Brian Houston at the grand opening of Hillsong Atlanta in June Getty Images/Photo by Marcus Ingram

Police allege Hillsong founder concealed abuse

Australian detectives on Thursday served Brian Houston, co-founder and senior pastor of Hillsong Church, with a notice to appear in court on Oct. 5. They intend to charge Houston with failing to report sexual abuse against a boy in the 1970s. He said he is innocent and wants to clear his name in court. Hillsong issued a statement expressing disappointment that the pastor was charged and asking the public to presume innocence.

What happened? An Australian Royal Commission in 2014 found that Houston’s father and Pentecostal leader Frank Houston confessed to being a child sex abuser in 1999. Houston testified that he allowed his father to resign from ministry quietly rather than report the abuse at the request of the victim. The victim denied that account. Frank Houston was accused of sexually abusing nine boys but was not charged before his death in 2004. Authorities launched a criminal investigation in 2019, leading to Thursday’s charges. They allege that Brian Houston knew about his father’s crimes decades earlier than originally reported.

Dig deeper: Read Daniel James Devine’s coverage of the Australian Royal Commission’s investigation.


Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Washington, D.C.

@CarolinaLumetta

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