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Hillsong founder Brian Houston fined and ordered probation for drink driving

by Kelly Valencia

Brian Houston, the founder of megachurch Hillsong, has been fined and sentenced to three years' probation for driving under the influence of alcohol while in the US.

The 69-year-old was charged in February 2022 after he was found to have been driving with a blood alcohol content of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, past the legal alcohol limit both in the US and in the UK.

He was arrested just weeks before he stepped down as global senior pastor following a myriad of scandals facing the megachurch, including allegations about his conduct.

Last month, Houston took to social media to admit his actions had been "foolish".

"At the time it seemed like all hell had broken loose within Hillsong Church and I was under immense pressure and emotional strain. Clearly that is not an excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions."

He continued: "Thirteen months have passed since that incident occurred and I am now in a much stronger place within my spirit and soul.
"I am grateful to God for his sustenance and grace, and I am grateful for trusted ministry friends who, along with Bobbie and our family, have offered their constant love and support in a very difficult and disruptive season."

Houston, who currently resides in Australia, has also been instructed to enrol in an alcohol program, attend self-help meetings, and undergo victim impact counseling as part of the Superior Court of California's sentence.

He is currently awaiting sentencing for an additional charge, pending the outcome of an appeal.

Probation in the US can often include meetings with a probation officer, requirement to work or study, random testing to check for presence of alcohol as well as requirement to attend alcohol awareness meetings.

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