Hillsong Church founder and pastor Brian Houston has maintained his innocence amidst charges of concealing child sex offences. He is set to appear in court in October.
Houston, the senior pastor of the Australia-based congregation, was charged by police last month, the incident allegedly took place during the 1970s. He said he was “shocked” by the charges and is innocent.
Brian Houston has also stepped down from his role on various church boards in order to allow police “function to their fullest capacity.”
“I … wanted to let you know that I’ve made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations,” Houston wrote in an email. “I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn’t change my role as Global Senior Pastor. I thought it was important to let our church family know in the interests of transparency, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly.”
Houston further said that he is “still full of vision and know[s] that there is an exciting season ahead for our church.”
Police made it known sometime in August that they will “allege in court” that Brian Houston “knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police.”
Houston, 67, said he believed the charges may be related to allegations that his father abused a boy in the 1970s.
“We ask that he be afforded the presumption of innocence and due process as is his right,” the church said in an August statement. “He has advised us that he will defend this and looks forward to clearing his name. We thank all who are a part of our church for their support and prayers at this time.”
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