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World News

Brian Houston accused man raped by his father of 'tempting' him, court alleges

by Sophie Drew

An Australian court has heard that Brian Houston allegedly accused a man of tempting his father, Pastor Frank Houston, who was later found guilty sexually abusing the person as a child.

The abuse survivor, Brett Sengstrock, claimed he was told he would be abandoned by the church if he reported the assault to the police.

Brian Houston, former global leader of Hillsong Church, stands accused of covering up the "repeated" abuse after finding out about it years later. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of concealing a serious indictable offence. 

In 1999, Frank Houston confessed to sexually assaulting the boy. The Assemblies of God pastor had "repeatedly" raped Sengstrock whilst staying with his family in Sydney. 

The court heard that Mr Sengstrock was later sent to seek counselling from Frank Houston as a teenager, at the Christian Life Centre. He claims the late-pastor was masturbating under the table, after which Sengstrock ran home to tell his mother.

Senior church members were informed of the abuse. Frank Houston then sought to apologise to the teen, asking him to sign a blank napkin in exchange for $10,000 (£5,545). The money was not transferred. 

The court was informed that Mr Sengstrock called Brian Houston weeks afterwards, asking for the money. Brian allegedly said: "You know this is all your fault. You tempted my father."

The money was then transferred via cheque. 

Brian Houston claims the Mr Sengstrock made it very clear that he "did not want the police to be involved." 

Brian's trial, presided over by magistrate Gareth Christofi, is set to run for three weeks in Sydney. He denies the charges.

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