The leader of the Australia-based global megachurch Hillsong has finally resigned after his father's sexual abuse case has resurfaced.

Brian Houston, 67, head of the Australian megachurch Hillsong, was charged in Sydney in August 2021 after being accused of covering up his father’s sexual abuse of a young man that occurred throughout the 1970s. Taking the situation into consideration, Houston reportedly decided to step down from his responsibilities at Hillsong Global Board and announced his decision on the church's official website, New York Post reported.

“The court processes are likely to be drawn out and take up most of 2022 (especially considering the backlog in the courts, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic),” Houston wrote in an announcement posted to the church’s website.

“We have talked about the effects of the situation with my father, which go back many years up to the current legal case, and the impact this has had on me emotionally. The result is that the Hillsong Global Board feel it is in my and the church’s best interest for this to happen, so I have agreed to step aside from all ministry responsibilities until the end of the year,” his statement continued.

However, Houston’s lawyers have informed the court that he will plead not guilty to the allegations raised against him.

According to the victim Brett Sengstock, who was barely 7-years-old at the time of the abuse, Frank Houston “raped, choked and brutalized” him, and after the abuse, attempted to bribe him with US$7,071( $10,000 AUD). Since Frank failed to complete the transaction, the payoff was allegedly sent as a check in the mail from Houston himself.

Houston reportedly became aware of allegations against Frank in 1999. However, he allowed the patriarch to retire quietly rather than report the abuse to the police. Frank, however, confessed to the allegations before he died in 2004 at the age of 82, NBC News reported.

The younger Houston has been currently charged with failing to turn over evidence concerning the crimes of his father. However, The church leader has defended his actions, saying that he did not report his father’s abuse to the police because the victim at that point was in his 30s and he did not want the authorities involved.

Houston said that he was shocked after he was charged with covering up the abuse and stated that he was innocent.

“I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight,” Houston said.

Hillsong, which describes itself as a “contemporary Christian church,” was founded in Australia in 1983 and has expanded to more than 20 countries.

Catholic priest
Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston speaks onstage during the Hillsong Atlanta grand opening at Hillsong Atlanta on June 06, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

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