Hillsong founder Brian Houston is charged with allegedly concealing his father Frank’s sexual abuse of a child in the 1970s after three-year investigation by police
- Hillsong megachurch co-founder Brian Houston is charged by Australian police
- Houston, 67, has recently been travelling in Mexico and the United States
- Houston’s father Frank, 82, died in 2004 after admitting to abusing boy, seven
- Frank’s victim was left feeling ‘shame, fear, embarrassment’ for many years
- Brian has been under NSW Police investigation in the wake of royal commission
Hillsong founder Brian Houston has been charged with allegedly concealing his father’s sexual abuse of a young boy in the 70s. Above with wife Bobbie
The founder of the Hillsong megachurch, Brian Houston, has been charged with allegedly concealing his father’s sexual abuse of a child in the 1970s.
In a statement, the NSW Police Force confirmed detectives had served a court attendance notice on 67-year-old Houston’s lawyer in Sydney about 2pm on Thursday.
The charge against Houston, who was recently travelling in Mexico, is one of concealing a serious indictable offence. It can carry a maximum penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment.
The charge follows a years-long investigation by police in the city’s Hills District, where the global Pentecostal church first opened its doors.
‘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,’ a statement said.
NSW Police began investigating Houston after a 2014 royal commission into child sexual abuse delved into how Hillsong’s forerunners – the Hills and Sydney Christian Life Centres – handled abuse allegations involving a seven-year-old boy that were raised against Frank Houston in 1999.
Frank Houston died in 2004 aged 82,not long after admitting having a ‘sexual interest’ in young boys
Then, Frank Houston was accused of sexually abusing the boy during trips from his native New Zealand to Sydney in 1969 and 1970.
After learning of the allegations, Brian Houston, then the president of the Assemblies of God in Australia, confronted his father, who confessed, the royal commission’s final report said.
However, the commission also found that neither Houston nor the organisation’s national executive referred the allegations to police.
The victim told the commission he met Frank Houston at a McDonald’s restaurant in Thornleigh and was offered a dirty napkin to sign in exchange for $10,000.
Houston Sr died age 82 in 2004 after confessing to a ‘continuing problem’ of a sexual interest in young boys.
His victim told the royal commission that he was left feeling ‘shame, fear and embarrassment’ for many years.
The charge against Pastor Houston will send shockwaves through the global evangelical empire he and his wife Bobbie have built.
The church operates in 28 different countries, has boasted of celebrity followers – formerly including Justin Bieber – and has its own record label.
More recently Hillsong has been shaken by scandals including celebrity New York pastor Carl Lentz being sensationally sacked after admitting cheating on his wife.
Brian and Bobbie Houston’s Hillsong empire has outposts in 28 countries and has attracted a celebrity following but has been beset by scandal in recent years
A married pastor in the US state of New Jersey resigned in April when DailyMail.com revealed that he had shared lewd photographs on Instagram.
The charge will also have political consequences in Australia.
In 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that he had sought an invitation for Houston to attend a state dinner at Donald Trump’s White House.
The NSW Police investigation into Brian Houston was public knowledge at the time.
Houston will face Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on October 5.
Daily Mail Australia contacted a Hillsong spokesman for comment.
A royal commission in New Zealand is expected to examine Frank Houston’s conduct while working for the Salvation Army in New Zealand in the 1940s.
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