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Brian Houston tells court his father going to jail for sexually abusing a minor ‘was always a possibility’

by Kelly Valencia

Brian Houston, the founder of megachurch Hillsong, has avoided telling a court in Sydney whether he thought his father, Frank Houston, should have gone to jail for sexually abusing a minor.

The 68-year-old is standing trial for concealing to his father’s abuse of a child in 1970. Houston has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Frank Houston, who died in 2004, sexually abused a seven-year-old in 1970. The victim, Brett Sengstock, came forward as an adult and after Frank’s death.

Houston says he learnt about the abuse in 1999 after a church official was made aware of the allegations.

Houston maintains that, as he learnt about the abuse, he got in touch with the victim’s mum who told him they didn’t want the police involved nor his son’s name “splashed all over the church".

The victim denies ever asking Brian Houston not to go to the police.

Houston banned his father from church ministry.

On Tuesday, magistrate Gareth Christofi interrupted in Houston’s cross-examination to ask whether he believed his dad should have gone to jail.

“Did you think your father should go to jail for what he’d done?” Christofi asked.

“I knew that would always be a possibility till the day he died,” Houston responded.

Cristofi pressed Houston on the question saying it was an issue of opinion.

“I hear your question and I can’t remember processing that thought,” Houston added.

Earlier in the trial, Houston said learning about his father’s abuse had left him “speechless” and “stunned” as he described the meeting when he confronted him.

"It was extremely tense, awkward," he said.

"He simply said 'that did happen'. He told me it only happened once," Houston added.

Houston also told the court he had no doubt his father was a “serial paedophile” after hearing of other allegations against his father.

The trial continues.

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