An Australian pastor, co-founder of a megachurch present around the world, was charged Thursday with covering up sexual assaults allegedly committed by his father in the 1970s. After several years of investigation, the police charged Brian Houston, 67 Years, who helped discovered that Hillsong, an evangelical church, did not report the assaults on a child.
Brian Houston, a leading figure in Pentecostalism in Australia, has ties to Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morisson.
The pastor’s father, Frank, who died in 2004, has been accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy when he was a preacher at the Assemblies of God Church. In 2015, a royal commission of inquiry revealed that Brian Houston learned of the allegations in 1999, but did not report them to authorities. This had led to the opening of an investigation by the police.
In the past, this pastor has rejected any cover-up, claiming to have confronted his father with these complaints and not to have reported it at the request of the victim who did not want to make the issues public or arrest the police.
“These accusations surprised me, given the transparency I have always shown on this issue,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I vehemently claim my innocence and will defend myself against these accusations, I am happy to have the opportunity to set the record straight.” The Australian prime minister, who has appeared at events organized by the Hillsong Church, admitted to having known Brian Houston “for a long time.” In a statement, the services of the Head of Government stressed that “it was a matter (of the competence) of the police” and that “it would be inappropriate to comment.”
Police said Thursday they would argue in court that “the man knew of information related to the sexual assault of a young man in the 1970s and that he did not bring that information to court.” Police attention “.
In a statement, Hillsong Church said it was “disappointed” by the accusation, adding that the pastor, who faces up to five years in prison, “is eager to clear his name.”
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