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World News

Brian Houston returns to Australia to fight charges he concealed father's sexual abuse

by Kelly Valencia

Founder of megachurch Hillsong, Brian Houston, has returned to Australia as he prepares to fight a court case in December.

The 68-year-old will defend criminal charges brought to him for failing to report his father's sexual abuse in 1960s and 1970s.

Houston and wife Bobbie had been preaching across the US during the last few months, following other controversies surrounding Hillsong Church which led to the couple being asked to step aside from their leadership roles.

In one of his last sermons in the US, Houston took to the pulpit to share the “inheritance of baggage” he carried being Frank Houston's son.

"Inheritance on Earth may sound like a good idea... My parents, financially, what I inherited was small but the reality is it also came through my father with baggage," Houston told the James River Church congregation.

He added: "Because, when I was 45 years of age ... I found out that my father, many years before that, in the '60s and '70s, was a paedophile."

Houston said that realising of his father's actions was the "most crushing" news he had ever received.

"The sad thing is all these years on, I'm 68, and I'm still dealing with things, which I inherited, not through any doing of my own, and so inheritance can come with it all sorts of baggage."

At least nine boys were abused by Frank Houston in 1965s and 1977s while leading Assemblies of God in Australia and New Zealand.

He died in 2004 without standing trial for the crimes.

In August 2021, Brian Houston was charged with concealing his father's sexual abuse. He has denied any wrongdoing.

In previous interviews, Houston has shared his "shock" at the charges and vowed to "set the record straight".

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