Christian Post reports,

Brian Houston to give evidence at sex abuse inquiry

Senior pastor of Hillsong, Brian Houston, is expected to give evidence during a national inquiry into the way in which churches dealt with allegations of sex abuse against his father, Frank Houston, and two other leaders, the Guardian reports.

Australia’s sex abuse royal commission is to examine how the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) movement, formerly Assemblies of God, handled the allegations when they came to light in 2000.

Originally trained as a Salvation Army officer, Frank Houston later became a Pentecostal Christian pastor in the Assemblies of God church. He founded the Sydney Christian Life Centre, which was in 1999 merged with his son Brian’s church – Hills Christian Life Centre, now known as Hillsong.

He is therefore credited with building a movement that became one of the largest megachurches in the world.

Before his death in 2004, aged 82, Frank Houston confessed to sexually abusing a boy in New Zealand three decades earlier, and was immediately removed from ministry by Brian.

At his funeral, however, Houston reportedly said of his father: “He was a man who perhaps made some big mistakes a long time ago, but everyone here knows that he was a man who stood for what he believed in.”

In August 2007, further allegations were made against Frank Houston. Former trainee pastor Peter Laughton claimed Houston had had sexually abused him in the 1980s as part of an attempt to “cure” his same-sex attraction.

Laughton described counselling sessions with Houston as “nothing more than sexual abuse disguised in the form of the need of a father’s love and disciple.”

He said he endured naked beatings among other abuses. These allegations will be investigated in full during a public hearing running from October 7, during which Brian Houston is expected to give evidence.

According to the Guardian, the investigation will also explore the response to allegations made against two other church men in the 1980s and 1990s.

Former youth pastor at a Sunshine Coast church linked to the ACC, Jonathan Baldwin, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy.

Allegations were also made against former teacher Kenneth Sandilands of Northside Christian Centre, now Encompass Church in Victoria.

Following a public hearing, the commission will meet on October 18.

Source: By Carey Lodge, Brian Houston to give evidence at sex abuse inquiry, Christian Post,, Published  06/10/2014. (Accessed 07/10/2014.)