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World News

Hillsong creative director steps down over sexting scandal

The creative director of a Hillsong church in New Jersey has resigned after it was revealed he shared explicit pictures with a church volunteer through Instagram.

Daniel Barret posted the photos in an Instagram story only visible to his ‘close friends', a feature on the social media platform that allows users to make content available only to certain people.

The photos showed the father of two standing in front of a mirror, shirtless and wearing white Nike tights so fitted that the outline of his genitals was visible.

Barret texted the woman saying: "Hey! I think I might've added you to my close friends list by accident. I'm so sorry. Trying to figure out how the hell to edit it," as seen in a screenshot shared by the Daily Mail.

The volunteer then replied with a long message accusing him of trying to ‘bait’ her for photographs to which Barret replied “I’m sorry?”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Barret said it was an “honest mistake” and that he was not trying “to lure her”.

“I get that she, within the context of what's happening with Hillsong, that she would draw those conclusions. But I barely know her. That was not my intention," Barret told the Daily Mail.

Barret also said he stepped down from his position at Hillsong over “infidelity” which he is now “working through” with his wife.

In a statement, Hillsong East Coast said: “We were disappointed to learn about choices he made that were unacceptable for any Hillsong staff member.

“We recognize that there are countless Hillsong Church staff members and volunteers who carry their responsibilities with trustworthiness, integrity, and excellence. They represent the heart of Hillsong Church, and we thank them for the work they do.

“We embrace this time of growth and will continue to move forward, caring for people and loving Jesus,” the statement concluded.

This is yet another scandal that the Hillsong church has faced since New York pastor Carl Lentz was fired for moral failures in November last year.

Earlier this month, Hillsong Dallas stopped its operations following accusations of lavish spending by former lead pastor Reed Bogard and his wife, Jess.

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