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Testimony Calls Into Question How Early Brian Houston Knew About His Father’s Child Sex Crimes

Brian Houston
Pictured: Brian Houston inviting followers to "An Evening with Bobbie and Brian," which was held in November. Screengrab via Facebook @pastorbrianhouston

As the trial of former megachurch pastor Brian Houston continues, the testimony of two key leaders who informed Houston of his father’s abuse has revealed that each had the impression that they were the first to break the news to him, despite their conversations with him coming roughly one month apart. 

Hillsong general manager George Aghajanian also revealed that the reasoning behind the church’s failure to report the sexual abuse of late pastor Frank Houston was because the abuse was not a “current matter.”

According to the Guardian, Aghajanian, who joined the church that would become Hillsong in 1994 and apparently is still part of the church’s leadership, told the court that while it was his job to ensure that the church complied with relevant laws, he did not inform authorities about the disciplinary action taken against Frank Houston in 2000 in response to credible allegations of child sex abuse. 

RELATED: Brian Houston Trial for Sex Abuse Coverup Charge Is Underway

At the time, Brian Houston forced his father to retire for the alleged abuse the elder Houston committed 30 years prior. Frank Houston was previously the pastor of the Sydney church that merged with Brian Houston’s congregation to become Hillsong, and Frank Houston served as a leader in the Assemblies of God denomination for many years. 

Frank Houston had multiple victims. 

Testimony has established that the younger Houston knew about his father’s abuse as early as 1999, but did not provide authorities with any helpful information until after his father’s death in 2004. 

Following a two-year investigation, Houston was charged with concealing the serious indictable offense of another person, a crime that carries as much as a five year prison sentence. Houston has pleaded not guilty, and the trial, which is expected to span multiple weeks, began roughly a week ago. 

During the hearing, when Aghajanian was questioned by the defense as to whose job it was to report abuse, he conceded, “Ultimately, the buck would have stopped with myself.”

“Our understanding of our requirements was to report something that could be potentially an imminent danger,” Aghajanian nevertheless explained, which was the reasoning behind the church not reporting the abuse that took place in the 1970s and predated Hillsong’s existence itself. 

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“There wasn’t a cover up. I received an allegation and I reported it to my boss,” he said. “We had no evidence of Frank Houston offending in this manner prior to receiving that allegation.”