Former Hillsong leader Houston’s drink-driving charge

Brian Houston won't be paid costs after his acquittal on a charge of concealing his father's abuse.

Brian Houston won't be paid costs after his acquittal on a charge of concealing his father's abuse. Photo: AAP

Former leader of global Pentecostal mega-church Hillsong Brian Houston says he was “under immense pressure and emotional strain” when he was charged with driving under the influence in the US.

Mr Houston was charged in Orange County, California, in February 2022, after recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.08, according to court records obtained by The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Houston posted a statement on Instagram saying the incident occurred in the lead-up to his resignation as head of the evangelical church.

“I made the foolish decision to drive just two or three hundred metres to park the car and I am grateful to God that no damage or injury occurred,” he wrote.

“At the time it seemed like all hell had broken loose within Hillsong Church and I was under immense pressure and emotional strain.

“Clearly that is not an excuse and I take full responsibility for my actions.

“I am now in a much stronger place within my spirit and soul,” he said.

A statement from Hillsong said the church had recently been made aware of the charges.

“The global board and leadership of Hillsong Church did not become aware that Pastor Brian Houston had been charged in the USA for driving under the influence until after he had resigned as pastor of Hillsong,” a statement from the church said.

“As he was no longer on staff, this was a personal matter for Pastor Brian to deal with.

“As always we continue to keep the Houston family in our prayers.”

Mr Houston and wife Bobbie founded Hillsong in Sydney in the 1980s before expanding with ministries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

The church announced last April it had accepted Houston’s resignation after it was found he had breached the church’s moral code by having inappropriate relations with two women.

He has since faced allegations of financial misconduct from Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who used parliamentary privilege to accuse Mr Houston of “treating private jets like Ubers”, saying he spent $179,000 in church money over a three-month period on air travel.

Tens of thousands of leaked financial records and documents showed funds were misused to bankroll lavish habits including “the kind of shopping that would embarrass a Kardashian”, Mr Wilkie said.

Mr Houston is also fighting accusations he concealed his late father’s child sexual abuse and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of concealing the crime until his father’s death in 2004.

The case remains before the courts, with hearings to resume in June.


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