Brian Houston’s best selling book, Live Love Lead, was published in September 2015. At the time of the book’s publication, the public was becoming aware of a continuing cover-up perpetuated at Houston’s hands, with perhaps the complicit support of the government’s lead investigator into the sordid matter of multiple claims of the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by Houston’s pastor father, Frank.
In his book, Houston devotes a chapter, entitled The Worst Day of My Life, to recounting his version of the day when the pedophilic proclivities of his father first came to his attention.
“George [Aghajanian, General Manager, Hillsong Church] proceeded to tell me how a phone call had come into our church office. The caller told one of our pastors that he had recently been ministering at a local church and that after his talk, a lady wanted to speak with him. It was during this conversation that she exposed to him something (I later learned) she had been carrying for many years: ‘Frank Houston sexually abused my son.” (Brian Houston, Live Love Lead, page 70.)
The news was, of course, shocking.
“Of all the things that George might have told me about my father, this could not have been further from what I had expected to hear. … To give you some context, my father – William Francis ‘Frank’ Houston – had always been my hero…So much of my motivation for wanting to serve God and build the church came from my father. Which is why the very thought of this story was so shattering.” (Brian Houston, Live Love Lead, pp 70-71)
These words – which were published in September 2015 – may yet reveal more than just Brian’s motivation for his ministerial pursuits. They may also reflect the motivation for his cover-up of truth that later came out, not merely about one abuse victim, but six others, all at the hands of his paternal “hero.”
A 125-page, 2014 Royal Commission (Complete PDF file attached below) report traces the insipid story, exposes Brian Houston’s failure to follow Assemblies of God – of which Brian was then current president – constitutional guidelines regarding the handling of such accusations, as well as his failure to notify police upon first learning of the criminal sexual behavior of his father against a minor.
In 1998 and 1999 allegations were made that Frank Houston had sexually abused a child (AHA) in about 1969 while visiting Australia from New Zealand to preach. At the time the allegations were made Frank Houston was the Senior Pastor of Sydney Christ ian life Centre, an affiliated Church of Assemblies of God. At the same time Frank Houston’s son, Pastor Brian Houston, was the Senior Pastor of Hills Christian life Centre, also an affiliated Church of Assemblies of God, and National President of the Assemblies of God (Page 8, 2014 Royal Commission Report)
According to the report, “the first public announcement by the Assemblies of God about the discipline of Frank Houston was made by letter to all Ordained and Probationary Ministers of the Assemblies of God dated 24 December 2001 explaining that Frank Houston has admitted to a ‘serious moral failure’ and that Pastor Brian Houston had suspended his father’s credentials.”
Prior to the 1999 allegations before the Assemblies of God, Frank Houston had “frequent phone calls” with the original, and first, victim to come forward. The victim reported to the Royal Commission investigation that the abuser’s priorities were two-fold.
“He just went straight into ‘We’ve got to get together and seek compensation and I want you to forgive me, so I can stand in front of God.’ They seemed to be the main two things. He wasn’t concerned about me personally. It just seemed to be more about himself and protecting himself, and then so if he died, he could stand in front of God and say that he was absolved of it.” (Pg 17, 2014 Royal Commission Report)
The efforts of forgiveness seem far less evident than the intent of the elder Houston to keep the matter from authorities.
“In a phone call to my mother, he said he would pay $2,000 a month til the day he died. I think that was his attempt to cover his trail, in my personal belief.” (Testimony of the original victim, pg 18, 2014 Royal Commission Report)
The question of authenticating the complaint of the original victim was put to rest by Brian Houston himself. He testified affirming that his father admitted to the allegations to him in mid-November 1999. “Yes, these things happened.” Brian Houston reported that ‘he confessed, essentially to fondling genitals,” though the testimony of the victim as recorded by the investigation reveals substantially more vile behavior, as though that isn’t vile enough.
Some two years after the original complaint, and the confession by his father to that complaint, Brian Houston yet had not notified the police. Additionally, he failed to follow his own denomination’s guidelines in handling the complaint, by failing to establish an independent, third party investigation into the matter. While Brian did relinquish his father of his ministerial privileges, the presence of a coverup was evident.
George, who Houston says first brought the matter to his attention, was informed by Kevin Mudford, a church evangelist, about the issue in October 1999 with the comment, “no one was doing anything about it and … there was a coverup.” (pg 19, 2014 Royal Commission Report.
Frank Houston molested a minor, attempted to pay him for silence and a clear conscience and was dealt with by his son, president of the denomination, with a private, virtually meaningless – to a then 77-year-old man – ministerial defrocking.
Based on Brian Houston and the Assemblies of God mishandling of the Frank Houston pedophilia abuse case, the Royal Commission “submitted it is appropriate to refer Pastor Brian Houston’s conduct to the New South Wales Police Commissioner.” Houston’s failure to report the crime to authorities was itself criminal. The Royal Commission established not only the obvious and inappropriate conflict of interest but laid out the mounting evidence that the entire event had become an orchestrated coverup by then head of the denomination, the increasingly popular senior pastor of Hillsong Church.
Perhaps justice down under will be served? Perhaps not.
Just who is the Police Commissioner of New South Wales, the jurisdiction under which Houston’s case appears? None other than Andrew Scipione, a friend of Brian Houston’s and a well-known face around Hillsong.
In a news article from November 2004 covering the funeral of Frank Houston, who died November 8, 2004 of a massive stroke, notable mourners gathered to bid farewell to a man “considered the father of Sydney’s Pentecostal churches.” Also, it is curiously noted, “The Deputy Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, also attended.”
By 2004, it was clear to more than just higher-ups within the Assemblies of God that Frank Houston was a serial pedophile. It had become public knowledge. Why, then, would the chief law enforcement agent who would have direct oversight of what should have been, since 1999, a criminal complaint, attend the funeral for the confessed perpetrator?
That motivation is unclear. What is clear is that Scipione, as the NSW Police Commissioner, has now been officially referred a criminal case against Brian Houston, his friend who happens to be the very high profile mega-pastor of a multi-million dollar prosperity gospel empire and son of the pedophile.
In 2015, Scipione was in attendance at the Hillsong Conference.
In another Houston-allied event, this time with Houston friend Phil Pringle, Scipione answered panel questions about “leadership, family, and faith.” TheC3 Pathfinders Breakfast was an offshoot of the C3 Presence Conference in 2015, an event which featured Brian Houston as a speaker.
The implications of such associations by the man now tasked with investigating Brian Houston’s criminal cover-up of his father’s multiple criminal pedophilia violations seem obvious. The wide spanning relationships of Houston aside, by 2015 the confessed abuses by his father were not secretive.
The results of the known 2014 Royal Commission investigation may have only been released in October 2015, but that investigation was less focused on the guilt of the accused – after all, Frank had admitted, and Brian had confirmed, his guilt – and was more focused on Brian Houston’s scandalous cover-up. Scipione would need to have been exhibiting less than Inspector Clouseau-like bumbling ignorance to be unaware of the pending issues. So why, then, would he make himself so highly visible at Hillsong related events?
Indeed, why would he, as deputy police commissioner, show up at the funeral of a serial pedophile? Perhaps the Brian Houston appeal isn’t merely a prosperity gospel one.
Frank Houston’s serial pedophilia was the first criminal case, a case which never was brought before the civil authorities.
Brian Houston’s conflict of interest in the mishandling of his father’s confession was, and is, the second criminal case.
However, another criminal case of conflict of interest down under just may be brewing, the conflict of interest of a Police Commissioner with well-known ties to the subject of a now official investigation.
We’ve reported on multiple occasions the danger inherent in the false, prosperity gospel theology of Brian Houston and Hillsong. We’ve reported on the deceptive, soul jeopardizing influence of Hillsong’s music empire, and soon to hit the big screen movie debut. But those theological abuses are not merely the only bonafide problems with Houston and Hillsong.
He’s also now accused of a shady cover-up to withhold criminal information from authorities of the pedophilia perpetrated by his “hero” father. And now, the guy who’s supposed to investigate those charges may himself be tainted by too much association with his hip, jet-set preacher pal.
Live Love Lead may need to be re-issued with an augmented title.
Live Love Lead LIE.
When you’ve got the wrong theology, the wrong Jesus, and the wrong God, it’s the logical sequel for such a sordid Hillsong tale. The question might be, will it be a prison memoir from Brian Houston? Perhaps not, if his highly placed associates intervene in just another conflict of interest coverup.
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- Hillsong’s Official Response To The Royal Commission Report