Child sex charge against founder of megachurch

2014-10-07 15:55

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Sydney - The founder of a popular Pentecostal megachurch sexually abused an underage boy in Australia, an inquiry heard on Tuesday.

A Royal Commission is investigating how institutions such as churches, governments and volunteer organisations responded to allegations of child abuse in recent decades.

On Tuesday, it started hearing accusations against Hillsong Church founder Frank Houston, who died in 2004 aged 82, after admitting in 2000 to inappropriate behaviour with a boy 30 years earlier.

No charges were ever brought against Houston, but the inquiry will hear how the church handled complaints that he molested boys.

One alleged victim told the panel that his aggressor's son, Brian Houston, blamed him for "tempting" his father, during a conversation over compensation payment, broadcaster ABC reported.

The younger Houston, now head of the church, denied the accusation.

"I would never say this and I do not believe this", he wrote on its website.

"At no stage did I attempt to hide or cover up the allegations against my father. Having to face the fact that my father engaged in such repulsive acts was, and still is agonising."

The victim, now aged 52, said the elder Houston abused him in 1969 when he was 7 years old. Twenty years later when he complained to the church, he was paid $8 800 in compensation.

Hillsong has grown rapidly with its popular rock'n'roll services and has more than 35 000 members in Australia, with congregations in 12 other countries.

Read more on:    australia  |  child abuse

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