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Hillsong pastor Brian Houston charged over allegedly concealing information about child sex offences

Brian Houston
Pastor Brian Houston, a founder of the Hillsong church, has been charged over allegedly concealing information about child sex offences. Photograph: Paul Miller/AAP

Hillsong founder Brian Houston has been charged with allegedly concealing information about child sex offences.

New South Wales police said on Thursday they had charged Houston, 67, with knowingly concealing information related to alleged child sexual offences.

The investigation has been under way since 2019.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reviewed a police brief of evidence and earlier this week provided advice to police about the case.

Police subsequently served a court attendance notice on Houston’s lawyers about 2pm on Thursday.

“Police will allege in court the man knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police,” NSW police said in a statement.

There is no suggestion Houston was involved in offending against the child.

In 2015, Australia’s royal commission into child sexual abuse heard that Houston’s late father, Frank Houston, had abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand.

Brian Houston is scheduled to appear in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court on 5 October. He recently travelled to the US and Mexico but it is unclear whether he remains abroad.

Houston said in a statement he would “defend these charges”.

“These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter,” he said. “I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

The Hillsong church said it was “disappointed that Pastor Brian has been charged”.

“We ask that he be afforded the presumption of innocence and due process as is his right,” the church said in a statement.

“He has advised us that he will defend this and looks forward to clearing his name. We thank all who are a part of our church for their support and prayers at this time.”