Hillsong founder ‘devastated’ by charges as he delivers sermons in US

Hillsong founder Brian Houston says he is "obviously devastated" by the charges of concealing child sex offences laid against him.

Mr Houston made the comment to Nine's US correspondent Alison Piotrowski as she caught up with him in the US state of Missouri, where he is delivering several Sunday sermons in Springfield and Kansas City.

Mr Houston is accused of knowing about the sexual abuse of a young man in the 1970s but failing to tell police.

READ MORE: Hillsong church founder accused of concealing child sex offences

Brian Houston from Hillsong Church.

Officers from The Hills in the city's north-west started an investigation into the matter in 2019.

Hillsong has a strong support base in America and Mr Houston has travelled to Mexico, Los Angeles and through middle America over the past couple of months.

When asked when he planned to return home and how he had managed to get a travel exemption to leave the country, Mr Houston declined to answer.

Mr Houston has vehemently denied the charges laid against him, and in statement released after they were laid said they "have come as a shock to me given how transparent I've always been about this matter".

"I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight," he said.

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In the same statement, Hillsong Church said it was "disappointed that Pastor Brian has been charged, and ask that he be afforded the presumption of innocence and due process as is his right".

"He has advised us that he will defend this and looks forward to clearing his name," the church said.

"Given that this matter is now before the court, neither Pastor Brian or Hillsong Church will be making further statements. We thank all who are a part of our church for their support and prayers at this time."

Mr Houston is expected to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

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