The Chronicle reports,
Alleged sex abuse victim told not to go to authorities
A SENIOR Pentecostal pastor has been accused of discouraging an alleged sexual abuse victim from going to authorities.
The alleged victim was the first person to testify at the royal commission into child sex abuse today as its focus turned to the Pentecostal movement Australian Christian Churches, formerly known as Assemblies of God, and affiliated churches.
The commission is first inquiring into the AOG, Sydney Christian Life Centre and Hills Christian Life Centre’s responses to allegations against Pastor William Francis “Frank” Houston in 1999.
The two churches merged to become Hillsong Church.
Mr Houston Snr, who has died, was a family friend when he allegedly began abusing the man at age seven in the boy’s house and in Mr Houston’s church office.
The man, whose name has been suppressed, said his mother told him years later, when he revealed the abuse, he would not want to be responsible for stopping people going to church and causing them to go to hell.
He said a senior pastor told him in a letter not to go to the “secular courts” as the church would give him a fair hearing.
The man testified Mr Houston’s son Brian, now Hillsong’s senior pastor, said he “tempted” his father into abuse.
The public hearing in Sydney will cover three specific case studies.
The responses of the AOG, Northside Christian College and the Northside Christian Centre, now Encompass Church, in Victoria, to numerous allegations against teacher Kenneth Sandilands(correct) will be scrutinised during the second part.
The third part will examine responses to allegations made in 2007 against a former Sunshine Coast church’s youth pastor, Jonathan Baldwin.
Baldwin was subsequently jailed.
The commission will consider the ACC’s response during the criminal trial and civil claim.
Source: By Emma McBryde, Alleged sex abuse victim told not to go to authorities, The Chronicle, http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/alleged-sex-abuse-victim-told-not-to-go-authoritie/2411834/, 07/10/2014 4:07 PM. (Accessed 07/20/2014.)
Hillsong abuse allegations to be examined
How Pentecostal institutions, including Sydney’s famous Hillsong Church handled allegations of child sexual abuse will be examined at an inquiry on Tuesday.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse sitting in Sydney will hear how Hillsong responded to sex abuse allegations made against William Francis ‘Frank’ Houston, a charismatic preacher who drove the movement out of which the church grew.
It will also hear of allegations against two other men – a teacher and a pastor who were attached to other Pentecostal churches.
Frank Houston died in 2004 at age 82. He admitted in 2000 he had sexually abused a boy in New Zealand where he had his first ministry in the 1960s.
Following his admission he was fired from all church roles by his high-profile son Brian Houston who is now senior pastor at Hillsong.
Brian Houston was national president of the Assemblies of God in Australia at the time of his father’s admission.
The Assemblies of God is a confederation of Pentecostal churches now known as the Australian Christian Churches (ACC).
The commission will examine the response of the ACC to allegations not only against Frank Houston but against former youth pastor at a Sunshine Coast church, Jonathan Baldwin.
Baldwin was jailed for eight years in 2009 when he was found guilty of repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old boy who had come to him for counselling.
Another matter before the commission is how the Northside Christian College and the Northside Christian Centre, (now Encompass Church, Bundoora Victoria) handled allegations of child sexual abuse against former teacher Kenneth Sandilands.
Sandilands and Baldwin are still alive.
Source: By , Hillsong abuse allegations to be examined, SkyNews, http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2014/10/07/hillsong-abuse-allegations-to-be-examined.html, Published 07/10/2014. (Accessed 07/10/2014.)
Radio New Zealand reports,
Aust inquiry told of abuse allegations
A Royal Commission of Inquiry in Australia has been told of further accusations emerging about a leading churchman in New Zealand sexually assaulting multiple boys.
The late Frank Houston founded the Assemblies of God church in Lower Hutt, before setting up another church in Sydney which later became the high-profile evangelical congregation Hillsong.
His son, Brian Houston, sacked his father in 2000 when he admitted abusing a boy in New Zealand.
The ABC’s Emily Bourke said the Royal Commission had been told of more abuse by Mr Houston.
Listen to more on Checkpoint ( 5 min 29 sec )
She said at least 50 pastors in New Zealand were aware of substantial allegation Mr Houston abused six boys 30 years ago.
Source: Aust inquiry told of abuse allegations, Radio New Zealand, Updated at 8:12 pm on 7 October 2014. (Accessed 08/10/2014.)
SBS News reports,
Hillsong head allegedly told man abused by pastor abuse was his own fault
Known for its rock’n’roll style of worship, Hillsong has transformed the image of Christianity. Its music has had number one hits in Australia and made the charts in the United States.
Allegations against one of the men who helped create the church that is now known as Hillsong were raised in the royal commission today.
It heard from a man who claims to have been abused by Pastor Frank Houston, a charismatic preacher who died in 2004.
His son, Brian Houston, a founder of Hillsong, who is also due to appear, was accused today of telling his father’s alleged victim that the abuse he suffered was his own fault.
The victim, who can only be identified as AHA, told the hearing Brian Houston said to him during a phone conversation about the alleged abuse by Frank Houston: “Yes, okay, I’ll get the money to you. There’s no problem. You know, it’s your fault all this happened. You tempted my father.”
The alleged victim claims to have been touched sexually by Frank Houston when he stayed with his family more than 30 years ago.
“On this trip, Pastor Frank and Brian were staying in my sister’s room,” AHA told the commission.
“Pastor Frank would creep into my room late at night nearly every night of the week. I would be asleep when he came in and then I would wake up with him standing over me.
“I remember when he was touching me in inappropriately I would be petrified and lay very still. I could not speak while this was happening and felt like I couldn’t breathe.”
AHA says the abuse at his home and at the different church meetings continued for years until he reached puberty.
When he told his mother years later, he said he was told not to tell.
“You don’t want to be responsible for turning people from the church and sending them to hell,” AHA said, quoting his mother.
In an earlier statement Brian Houston acknowledged the abuse committed by his father and the damage it had caused to the affected victims.
“I have been touched by the horrific act of child sexual abuse in a very personal way. Having to face the fact that my father engaged in such repulsive acts was – and still is – agonising,” the statement read.
In a second statement Brian Houston rejected AHA’s allegations that he told him the abuse was his fault or that he had tried to cover up abuse allegations against his father Frank Houston..
“However I disagree with his perception of the phone call with me and I strongly refute that I – at any time – accused him of tempting my father. I would never say this and I do not believe this,” the statement read.
“At no stage did I attempt to hide or cover up the allegations against my father.”
Brian Houston is due to appear before the commision to give his own evidence at a later date.
Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Simeon Beckett, said the Executive of the New Zealand Assemblies of God churches had revealed ”substantial allegations” that Frank Houston had touched the genitals of six boys.
The second part of the inquiry will examine allegations of child sexual abuse against Kenneth Sandilands, a former teacher at Northside Christian college.
Mr Beckett says the evidence is likely to show that over a 10 year period at the College, “allegations which amounted to or may have indicated child sexual abuse were received… from about 30 children.”
The third part will examine allegations of child sexual abuse made in 2007 against a youth pastor at a Sunshine Coast church, Jonathan Baldwin.
Source: By Manny Tsigas, Hillsong head allegedly told man abused by pastor abuse was his own fault, SBS News, http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/07/hillsong-head-allegedly-told-man-abused-pastor-abuse-was-his-own-fault, Published 07/10/2014 – 9:31PM. (Accessed 08/10/2014.)
[Watch this space]