Brian Houston Trial: Hillsong Founder Denies Victim Liability

Pedophile Frank Houston admitted to sexually abusing a child in 1970 and received severance pay when he left the church despite being disqualified from preaching, son Brian says. Houston said in court.

Hillsong founder Bryan Huston is fighting an allegation in Sydney’s Downing Center District Court that he covered up his father’s sexual abuse of a then seven-year-old boy more than 50 years ago.

Brett Sengstock was sexually assaulted in January 1970 in the Cousy family home by Frank Houston, then a New Zealand-based traveling preacher.

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Houston, 68, vehemently denies the allegations, saying his decision not to go to police when he learned of his father’s crime in October 1999 did not constitute a cover-up.

He pleads not guilty to one count of concealment of an indictable serious crime and considers that his father’s victim, after coming of age, asked to remain anonymous and was told that he did not want to appear before authorities. said his actions were reasonable.

At the end of his third day on the witness stand, Mr. Houston revealed that his father had received severance pay more than a year after pleading guilty.

The court heard that Package intends to “financially look after” Frank and Hazel Houston.

Bryan Houston told court his father received severance pay. Photo: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard
Bryan Houston told court his father received a severance payment. Photo: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard

A letter of resignation was submitted to a council of elders, where Houston admitted that the thought “would have crossed my mind” that his father would not be able to retire from the job he was laid off from.

“He was fired from preaching, disqualified, asked to leave Hillsong … This was an attempt to get him recognized as an administrator,” Houston said.

Prosecutor Gareth Harrison suggested he was allowed to “quietly retire” without publicly announcing that he was an “acknowledged pedophile.”

“What I am proposing to you is that it is clear from this meeting that Frank was allowed to quietly resign.

Houston said her mother worked in the church her entire life and was never accused of cheating, so it was “the most important thing people think” when it came to the financial package.

He said he was unable to explain the board’s motives, but that he only wanted to take care of his mother.

Harrison suggested it was an attempt to “hide the real reason Frank left.”

Houston said, “I don’t think they tried to cover up Frank’s pedophilia.

“Frank has been away from church for about 12 months.”

Frank Houston admitted he was a pedophile before his son died.

Earlier in the day, Houston said the claim that he blamed the victims was “absurd.”

During the proceedings, Sengstock provided evidence that he had a telephone conversation with Brian Houston, who was defending his father, and said, “You seduced my father.”

Sengstock told the court he was “shocked” by the allegations.

But on Monday, Bryan Houston said the allegations were “absurd” and did not defend Frank Houston.

“It’s nonsense who says that about a seven-year-old boy,” he said.

“It’s just a silly idea.”

Bryan Houston said in court that he respected the victim’s wishes by not reporting the incident to the police.

Frank Houston died in November 2004 after being disqualified as pastor of the Assemblies of God.

Harrison suggested that Brian Houston never went to the police because he was trying to cover up the incident.

He simply replied: “No.”

However, he admitted that he had the “free will” to report the matter to the police, but ultimately chose not to do so.

Harrison said, “When you exercised your free will to report this to[AoG]state officials and not the police, the church was your ultimate authority in this matter.

Brett Sengstock (left), pictured, said in court that he was paid by Frank Houston.Photo: NCA NewsWire/Damien Shaw

Brian Huston said:

He consistently denied putting “the interests of the church” first, saying that if the “scandal” was made public it would have been “resilient”.

Brian Houston acknowledged that the church’s reputation could be damaged if this allegation became public.

“(I) tried to protect more than the church. I tried to protect Brett, I tried to protect everyone involved. I think myself and the church,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Harrison asked why his father had “failed to go to the police and reveal the allegations” when he admitted to sexually abusing Sengstock without “revealing his identity.”

“I knew I had no choice but to talk to church authorities, and I think Brett’s wishes should be respected when it comes to the police,” he told the court.

He was further interrogated by Justice of the Peace Gareth Christofi, who asked him “in what sense” he had no choice.

Bryan Houston says it was a “cover-up” if he didn’t do anything after being informed of the incident, knowing that there’s “always” the possibility that his father will go to jail “until the day he dies.” rice field.

“My intention was never to be guilty of a cover-up,” he said.

Bryan Houston said in court that he attended a lawyer’s office after learning his father wanted the victim to pay. Photo: NCA Newswire/Gaye Gerard

Mr. Christofi asked further questions.

“I don’t recall using that term, but I never tried to impede his ability to go to the police,” Bryan Houston replied.

Mr. Christophe said again.

Brian Houston told the court that Sengstock wanted “control” and thought he “lost control” when his mother disclosed the information.

“He didn’t want to lose any more power or control in his life,” he said.

Bryan Houston’s Hills Christian Life Center later merged with Frank Houston’s Sydney Christian Life Center to form Hillsong.

The trial continues.


Lauren Ferri is NCA NewsWire’s general news reporter, covering everything from breaking news and crime to politics, business and Covid-19. She was brushing her teeth on her court report before she entered the Sydney bureau… read more

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