Brian Houston protected Hillsong’s reputation when he failed to report his father to the police, the court said

Judge Gareth Christofi asked if it mattered what Houston’s motivation was.

Harrison said the motivation was “highly significant.” He said that even if Houston believed Sengstock didn’t want the matter reported to the police, that didn’t provide him with a reasonable excuse not to do so.


The prosecutor said Houston felt obligated to report the allegations to the church’s state executive board because “to do anything else would be a cover-up,” but this does not apply to secular authorities.

“The defendant, the leader of this church in Australia, went to each of these individuals and he says he told them the details of what his father confessed,” Harrison said.

“It appears that no one…when told that a very senior pastor was a pedophile, none of them thought it was a matter for the police to raise…Based on the defendant’s testimony, he was certain that neither of them had said anything.

“So the culture in the church and its members was to protect the church from scandal.”

Brian Houston said last year he told his father to stay away from the church after his confession because “one hit and you’re out, no tolerance policy towards pedophiles” there.

He said he was “devastated” and “torn” about telling people inside the church what his father had done, but now “I have no respect for him.”

The hearing continues.

Justin Scaccy

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