The dates for Hillsong founding pastor Brian Houston's court case for allegedly covering up a child sex abuse case have been confirmed. From December 2 to December 22, Houston will fight allegations he concealed his father's sexual offences. Houston's matter was mentioned in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday but he was excused from appearing.
Police will allege Houston's father Frank indecently assaulted a male in 1970, and that the younger Houston knew or suspected it for five years before his father died in 2004. "Over 12 months ago I was charged with a crime that I'm yet to defend and that I will fight," Houston vowed.
While excusing himself from the court house, Houston gave a speech streamed live to his 340,000 Facebook followers on Thursday morning. In the speech, Houston alleged that he was "squeezed out" as senior pastor by the Hillsong Church board.
In March, Hillsong claimed the "serious incidents" included a 2019 instance where Houston "knocked on the door of a hotel room that wasn't his" and interacted with a woman under the influence of anxiety medication and alcohol. Hillsong also claimed Mr Houston had sent inappropriate text messages to a member of staff about 10 years ago, while under the "influence of sleeping tablets, upon which he had developed a dependence."
"The narrative that I am an alcoholic is false," Houston told his Facebook followers. "I am deeply sorry for the people I've hurt."
Houston said he was no longer dependent on sleeping tablets, and incidents with drugs and alcohol were now rare. "The notorious night in 2019 where I mixed a double dose of anti-anxiety tablets with alcohol was a one-off occasion."
"Sadly, in the statements and announcements made there was enough detail to pour ultimate shame and humiliation on me, but enough ambiguity to leave people to make their own conclusions about what did and didn't happen," Houston stated.
Houston said his wife Bobbie, despite hosting 110 Color Women's Conferences, had been ostracised because of their exit from the church, even though she had done nothing wrong.