Crime & Justice

Hillsong Church founder acquitted of covering up father’s abuse of minor

Sydney, Australia, Aug 17 (EFE).- A Sydney court found Brian Houston, founder of the Hillsong Christian church, not guilty Thursday of accusations of covering up his father’s sexual abuse of a child, Australian state television channel ABC reported.

Houston, who resigned from his position as senior pastor last year over these and two other allegations of inappropriate conduct with women, was acquitted after the court found he had “a reasonable excuse” for not reporting his father’s abuses when he learned of it in 1999.

The 69-year-old religious leader had alleged that the victim Brett Sengstock had asked him not to inform police when he learned of the abuse, almost 30 years after it took place, when Sengstock was seven years old.

Judge Gather Christophi also said Houston spoke openly in court and to the media about his father’s sexual abuse, describing him as a “serial pedophile,” which would contradict the cover-up attempt.

The alleged crime of Frank Houston, a former leader of the Assemblies of God in Australia and New Zealand, was one of the cases included in the 2015 report of the Australian Government Commission that investigated the response of the country’s institutions to juvenile sexual abuse.

Frank Houston, a pastor who died in 2004 without being charged for these crimes, was also accused by victims and legal organizations of sexually abusing nine minors.

The Hillsong Church, founded in 1983 in Australia and to which well-known figures such as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez belong, has several offices in almost 30 countries such as the United States, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico.EFE


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