Authorities in Australia launched an investigation into Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston, claiming that he did not report his father’s sex crimes to the proper authorities. This comes after Brian Sengstock, whom Houston’s father Frank molested over a five-year period in the 1980s told the story of his ordeal on the Channel 9 program “60 Minutes.”
Brett Sengstock spared no detail in cataloging the abuse he began suffering at Frank Houston’s hands when he was seven-years-old. Frank Houston came clean about his actions before his 2004 death, but authorities never heard about his crimes.
Hillsong released a strongly-worded statement on their website, vehemently denying many of the charges made against them in the “60 Minutes” piece. They said Brian Houston and the church “have made it clear on multiple occasions that they are incredibly grieved for the victims and the hurt and the pain that the criminal actions of Frank Houston have caused them. The victim you interviewed on your episode is no exception. We wish to emphasize that all of these criminal actions occurred before Hillsong Church existed.”
The church’s six statements against the broadcast focused mainly on the allegations that the church did not address the issue until the Royal Commission learned about Frank Houston’s crimes and that the church hid the issue from congregants.
To sum up their defense against the allegations, they asked that Channel 9 programs read something similar to the following statement.
“On the 18 November 2018 we ran a story on Frank Houston and the involvement in said investigation by his son Brian Houston and Hillsong Church. Hillsong Church has since been in touch with Nine and we would like to clarify the following representations. The denomination known at the time as the Assemblies of God in Australia is the denomination and Hillsong Church is one of many autonomous churches that were part of the AOG at the time. The lawsuit referred to in our story was between the victim and the denomination, not Brian Houston or Hillsong Church. Brian Houston was not the first to hear of the abuse by Frank Houston and when he became aware, immediately confronted his father and Frank Houston never ministered again. For years prior to the Royal Commission and following, Brian Houston disclosed the abuse by Frank Houston to the many thousands of attendees at Hillsong Church congregations and in those disclosures, specifically referred to child abuse and pedophilia. It is clear that Brian Houston did not hide or conceal his father’s crimes. Brian Houston and Hillsong Church have made it clear that they are incredibly grieved on behalf of the victim and acknowledge the inexcusable crimes committed against him by Frank Houston well before the existence of Hillsong Church.”
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
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