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USA News

Hillsong Founder Brian Houston charged with drink driving

by Heather Preston

The former leader of megachurch Hillsong has revealed he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in the US, prior to his resignation as senior global pastor.

Houston was charged in February 2022, after a blood alcohol reading of 0.08 grams per 100 mL of blood, according to News Corp. 0.08 grams is the legal alcohol limit for driving in both the US and the UK.

Detailing the incident on social media last night, Houston gave this statement: “In the lead up to my departure from the role of Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church, I was unfortunately charged with Driving Under The Influence of alcohol in the USA.

Houston goes on to explain that he “foolishly” drove some two or three hundred metres to park his car.

“I am grateful to God that no damage or injury occurred,” he added.

In March 2022, Houston stepped down from his post at Hillsong Church following an internal investigation that found he acted inappropriately towards two women connected to the church.

Describing his state of mind at the time of the drink driving incident Houston said in his recent post: “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.”

According to a statement from Hillsong, the church was only recently made aware of the charges.

“The global board and leadership of Hillsong Church did not become aware that Pastor Brian Houston had been charged in the USA for driving under the influence until after he had resigned as pastor of Hillsong,” a church statement said.

“As he was no longer on staff, this was a personal matter for Pastor Brian to deal with.

“As always we continue to keep the Houston family in our prayers.”

Hillsong Church made headlines earlier this month, following accusations of tax evasion and money laundering.

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie suggested the church’s extravagant spending would “embarrass a Kardashian” after he claimed it earned $80 million more than it had disclosed.

Recently appointed global senior pastor, Phil Dooley announced that the church would be launching a financial review following the accusations.

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