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World News

Court hears tapes of Frank Houston preaching to children 5 years after he was removed from ministry over sex offences

by Sophie Drew

A court in Sydney has listened to tapes of Frank Houston preaching to children five years after being removed from ministry, as Brian Houston’s legal case continues.

Brian Houston is currently at the centre of a three-week long trial, accused of concealing a serious indictable offence after failing to report his father’s sexual abuse of a minor.

He pleads not guilty.

The former Hillsong global leader claims the victim of the abuse – who was first abused at the age of seven but came forward as an adult – did not want the matter escalated to the police.

In 1999, after hearing of the crimes committed by his father, Brian Houston had Frank removed from ministry. The move was backed by members of the Assemblies of God network, who have all confirmed that Frank was immediately stripped of his credentials.

However, tapes of Frank Houston preaching to children in Maitland, in 2004, have been shared with the court.

The late Assemblies of God pastor can be heard speaking directly to children, calling one individual “good looking” and “a fantastic young fellow.”

The tapes were played as part of evidence from Bob Cotton, a pastor at the Maitland Christian Church who previously held Frank Houston in “high regard” and renamed his church in affiliation with the late pastor.

However, he changed the name once the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, shed light on Frank Houston’s sex offences, in 2014.

The court case is set to run for three weeks.


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