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Church News

Brian Houston to plead not guilty to concealing his father's child abuse

by Will Maule

Brian Houston will plead not guilty to covering up his father's abuse, his lawyer has said. 

The founding leader of Hillsong Church was charged in August in relation to the reporting of abuse perpetrated by his father, pastor Frank Houston, in the 1970s.

On Tuesday, Houston's lawyer told a preliminary court hearing that her client denied the allegations. Houston did not attend the hearing.

Pastor Frank Houston, an Assemblies of God minister, was investigated as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into child sexual abuse - The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - which ran from 2013 to 2017.

Frank Houston died in 2004. 

Court documents in the case against Brian Houston allege that he concealed his father’s alleged “indecent assault of a male” between 1 September 1999 and 9 November 2004.

Police say Brian Houston knew about his father's abuse as early as 1999 and "without reasonable excuse, failed to bring that information to the attention of NSW Police".

Houston has previously said that the charges came "as a shock" and vowed to "set the record straight". 

"I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges," he told AP in August. 

Last month, Houston said he would be stepping down from his role on the Hillsong board, but would remain as the movement's "Global Senior Pastor".

Houston's next court date is scheduled for 23 November. The charges he faces carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

 

 

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