Hillsong's Brian Houston on Trial & Alleged Paid to Silence the Victim

Brian Houston

Hillsong Church's founding pastor Brian Houston is currently on trial in Sydney for failing to report to the police after his father Frank Houston confessed in 1999 to sexually assaulting a boy. Houston has pleaded not guilty and he is expected to stand trial until December 22.  

Houston has repeatedly maintained he did not report the allegation to police because Sengstock did not want that to happen. Sengstock has since waived his right to anonymity as a victim of child sexual abuse. 

Houston's lawyer Phillip Boulten SC said the Hillsong founder was not the first or only person who knew his father molested a boy in Australia, and probably abused others in New Zealand."The people who did know about it and did not tell the police about it, like (Houston), did not tell the police about it because (the survivor) was so adamant that he didn't want to go to the police," Boulten said. 

In an opening statement, crown prosecutor Gareth Harrison told the court that in January 1970 Frank Houston, then a pastor with the Assemblies of God church, was visiting Sydney and stayed with the Sengstock family for a week. At night, he came into Sengstock's room and sexually assaulted him while he was sleeping, placing his hands on his genitals, masturbating him and inserting a finger into his anus.

Brett Sengstock was the first witness called on Monday. He told the court that following the first incident in January 1970 he was "repeatedly" raped by Frank Houston.Sengstock told the court he did not disclose the abuse until he was 16, when he told his mother, who discouraged him from telling anyone.

Frank Houston's offending finally came to light around 1998-99 when his mother spoke to another pastor within the church. Sengstock says during a meeting with Frank Houston at a western Sydney McDonald's, he was told to sign his name on a napkin and was offered $10,000.

During a subsequent phone call with Brian Houston, Sengstock says he told him: "I agreed to forgive his father, to comply with his wishes ... I said to him about the money and he turned around and said 'do you know this is all your fault'. 

Asked why he never went to police after his phone call with Brian Houston, Sengstock told the court: "Quite frankly, it was just because I was paid for my silence". 




Tags : Hillsong Brian Houston Frank Houston Brian Houston scandal Brian Houston sex offence cover-up hillsong church

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